Hawks urged to target former top-10 pick in offseason trade

The Atlanta Hawks have some clear needs that this recent top pick could address in an offseason trade.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The 2024-25 Atlanta Hawks have to defend better than the Hawks squads of recent memory.

This year’s Hawks fielded one of the NBA’s most potent offenses. But, even when healthy, their defense was too porous at the point of attack and on the perimeter in general.

“Acquiring wing-sized players with palpable defensive pulses … has to be the offseason focus for the Atlanta Hawks,” Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale wrote on April 19. “Dyson Daniels juggles any agenda Atlanta inevitably undertakes.”

“Convincing the New Orleans Pelicans to part with him so early into his rookie deal won't be easy. It also isn't a non-starter. They already have Herbert Jones and Trey Murphy III, and more pressing needs loom—including rim protection and versatility at the 5, shooting infusions and … a floor general who can command and organize the offense.”

Favale adds that the Hawks have what the Pelicans could seek in Onyeka Okongwu, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Dejounte Murray, or Trae Young.

Favale does not suggest a package to get a deal done.

However, various rumors have linked the Hawks and Pelicans to a potential deal for some time, including the star backcourt, which many around the league expect to get broken up this offseason.

“The Pelicans and Hawks indeed held tangible trade talks this week, league sources told Yahoo Sports, that included various concepts regarding both of Okongwu and Capela, as well as All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote in a batch of intel on February 7. 

Fischer reported on February 8 that the Hawks had an interest in “several” Pelicans players and that the two sides would likely re-engage this offseason.

With all of that, we can cobble together some semblance of a hypothetical trade package:

DJ to NO 2

This hypothetical deal would solve two of the three issues Favale listed for the Pelicans. And it would load the Hawks with several useful pieces as well as recoup some of the draft capital they lost acquiring Murray from the San Antonio Spurs.

Losing Griffin would seem like a non-starter. His game is a perfect fit for what Hawks head coach Quin Snyder wants to do offensively. 

But Griffin struggled in an inconsistent role and it’s unclear which part of that is the root cause.

Hawks could reset with length around Trae Young with offseason trade

The Hawks would still have a loaded backcourt with Young joined by a former No. 8 overall pick in Daniels, 2023 first-rounder Jordan Hawkins (No. 14 overall), and Hawks 2023 first-round pick Kobe Bufkin.

That’s a lot of length and versatility around Young, all of which has at least flashed strong defensive capabilities.

Nance is a versatile frontcourt piece that the Hawks lacked amid a flurry of injuries this season.

This hypothetical scenario doesn’t land the Pelicans with the big they sought, which would help the Hawks clear up their logjam. But Pelicans big man Jonas Valaciunas is a free agent this offseason and New Orleans is light on contracts they would likely move in such a deal.

The Hawks might prefer to find a third team to avoid crowding their backcourt. But that is where Daniels’ versatility to play 1-through-3 stands out.

Bufkin and Hawkins would be a spirited backup backcourt duo.

It’s unlikely the Hawks will get back what they gave up for Murray 1-for-1. Their goal should be maximizing their options going forward if they trade him. Things could get interesting if the Hawks try to re-tool around the duo rather than split them up.

Some lineups worked with Murray and Young on the court. But injuries curtailed their deployment this season. 

The Hawks already took a significant haircut in the John Collins trade last offseason too.

Favale listed Murray as a target for the Brooklyn Nets, De’Andre Hunter for the Memphis Grizzlies, Garrison Mathews for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Okongwu for the Pelicans, and Bogdan Bogdanovic for the Philadelphia 76ers.