Coveted $91 million swingman floated as Hawks' 'dream trade target'

One rival's versatile wing has been listed as a potential "dream" target for the Atlanta Hawks in a trade.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have needed defensive help for years despite drafting the kind of players that should help with that very issue. 

Their efforts have brought in De’Andre Hunter, who remains with the team, and Cam Reddish who was traded ahead of the 2022 deadline. This past season, they added guard Kobe Bufkin, who flashed his two-way capabilities last season.

In a similar position, it could be time to pursue a different route.

“The Hawks' best path forward is to split up the Trae Young/Dejounte Murray combo, improve the team's overall defense and try to improve the future salary outlook for a team that missed the playoffs yet projects to be in the luxury tax this upcoming season,” Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz wrote on June 3.

“Moving either Young or Murray in a deal for Mikal Bridges would solve a lot of this team's issues.”

Bridges averaged 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists while shooting 37.2% from beyond the arc for the Brooklyn Nets this past season. It was a step back from his breakout after the trade deadline in 2022-23. 

His offensive burden has sapped some of his effectiveness on defense.

He held opponents 1.1% below their season average on three-pointers in 2021-22 while with the Phoenix Suns. Bridges allowed them to shoot 3.4% better than their average in 2023-24.

However, he did hold his matchups 4.1% below their average on two-pointers, setting another career-best mark. And getting him out of a primary scorer’s role would allow him to focus more of his attention back on the other end of the floor.

Bridges said he plans on being with the Nets next season.

“Yeah, 100 percent. I don’t think I look at anywhere else,” Bridges said during his season-ending press conference, per Nets Daily’s Net Incomein April. “I don’t think about my contract at all. Just try and come back, and my biggest thing this summer is to be better than I was this year. Take a lot from what I learned.

“Obviously it was not what I wanted and what we wanted as a team, but you can’t really sulk about it. Didn’t play your best. That’s cool. Might get some hate for it, but just get in the gym, get better and learn from it. My intention is definitely to stay here. I got nowhere else to be.”

Nets' Mikal Bridges could be difficult for Hawks to acquire in trade

Bridges is heading into the third year of a four-year, $90.9 million contract. That is a relative bargain for what he can provide.

The Nets declined a substantial offer from the Memphis Grizzlies when they acquire Bridges.

“I know of one team that offered them four first-round picks for Mikal Bridges,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the “Lowe Post” podcast on February 10 before clarifying, “I know of at least three first-round picks. The fourth one might have had some protections or something but I’m pretty sure that’s a thing.”

While Bridges took a step back as a scorer, the likely bidding war that would take place if he were made available means a bargain is out of the question. It might not take four first-round picks, but the Nets would likely have to be blown away by an offer to deal him away.

The Hawks would be risking putting themselves in a similar situation as they are currently in, needing to flip additional players and assets to correct roster issues.