3 De'Andre Hunter trades to help the Hawks clear a path for Zaccharie Risacher

The Atlanta Hawks added Zaccharie Risacher with the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NBA Draft and these trades could help clear the runway for him.
Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter
Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Hawks needed to address some issues on the wings.

They rostered plenty of bodies last season. Few of them were reliable, though, and even fewer offered the versatility that No. 1 overall pick Zaccharie Risacher should.

His addition could also speed up the process with, De’Andre Hunter. Hunter, 26, is entering Year 2 of a four-year, $90 million contract and has already been involved in trade speculation last season. The same goes for Clint Capela and his expiring $48 million contract.

If the Hawks still want to move on from both, these three trade ideas for Hunter could make sense.

1) Hawks take De’Andre Ayton off Trail Blazers hands in proposed trade

This trade would help both teams, with the Hawks sending Hunter to the Pacific Northwest in exchange for faltered former first-round pick Deandre Ayton in a package deal.

Dre to POR

For the Hawks, this deal would shed more than $8 million from the bottom line.

That plus the idea of adding Ayton – who turns 26 years old in July – along with Rayan Rupert is why the draft capital is included the the scenario.

Rupert was the No. 43 overall pick in 2023 and averaged 4.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists last season. He shot 35.9% from deep. But more importantly, he is 6-foot-7 and is another French-born player which could help ease Risacher’s transition.

If the Blazers quibble, the Hawks could lighten the protections on the pick.

Surrendering draft capital is far from ideal in the Hawks’ position. However, they could look at the composition of their roster after to justify it.

Risacher, Jalen Johnson, and Onyeka Oknogwu will all still be under the age of 25 when the campaign ends. The Hawks could also have Ayton and Trae Young who will both be 26 at the season’s end and Dejounte Murray who turns 28 years old in September.

If Rupert delivers on pre-draft optimism, they could be deep too.

Kobe Bufkin already looked promising in his injury-marred rookie season. Ditto for big man Mouhamed Gueye and their fellow youngster Seth Lundy.

Hunter averaged 15.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists last season, shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc. While he may not live up to his billing as the No. 4 overall pick in 2019, he is the Hawks’ best perimeter defender.

That plus the potential to get out from under the remaining two years and $69.5 million on Ayton’s four-year, $132.9 million contract.

Capela is entering the final year of a two-year, $46 million pact.

Ayton averaged 16.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists last season for the Blazers. But like Hunter, he has not lived up to his draft billing, most notably failing to provide consistent rim protection despite his tremendous athletic gifts and physical profile.

Still, the former Phoenix Sun would step into a(nother) new situation that could help rekindle some of the optimism around him that made his the No. 1 pick in 2018.

The Blazers also still have Robert Williams and drafted Donovan Clingan No. 7 overall.