With the trade deadline just days away, and Atlanta Hawks (22-27) star Dejounte Murray looking increasingly like he won’t be moved, the chatter has shifted a bit.
Murray is still a candidate to be moved, with the Hawks’ latest asking price set at two first-round picks, per Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer on February 5. But Fischer also notes that the Hawks remain under no deadline to move Murray during the season.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t a team to watch with the deadline looming, though.
“One Cavalier to monitor ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline is former No. 5 overall pick Isaac Okoro,” HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto wrote on February 5. “Okoro is expected to draw interest at the trade deadline. The Knicks, Hawks, Pacers, Suns and Bucks are all teams to closely monitor as all are known to have interest in acquiring a two-way wing.”
Okoro, 23, is averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 37.2% from beyond the arc this season.
Not known for his three-point shooting when he entered the league, Okoro has improved upon his 29% mark from downtown as a rookie in each subsequent season. The 6-foot-6 wing’s defense remains his calling card.
Okoro is in the final year of his four-year, $29 million rookie scale contract.
The Cavaliers – or an acquiring team – still have control as he heads into restricted free agency, with his qualifying offer projected at $11.8 million.
“One general manager who spoke with HoopsHype already believes Okoro can get around $14 million annually –- which would be more than the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception – thanks to his improved 3-point shooting while also being an All-Defensive team candidate,” Scotto wrote.
Scotto goes on to say the Cavs’ appetite for paying the luxury tax could be a deciding factor.
Proposed Hawks trade lands Cavaliers’ Issac Okoro
Taking into account the Hawks’ eye for the future in recent trade rumors, perhaps there is a way for them to acquire Okoro without having to send out 2022 No. 16 overall pick AJ Griffin. A package of Patty Mills, Wesley Matthews, and draft picks might get the job done.
But it would also leave the Hawks thin at backup point guard with only rookie Kobe Bufkin on hand to take over.
Matthews is also a respected veteran presence.
However, he and Mills are also well into their 30s and far from in the Hawks’ plans for the future. If they can get something out of them rather than lose them for nothing this coming offseason, it might be wise to do so.