Pass or pursue: Exploring the Atlanta Hawks' options with Saddiq Bey in free agency

The Atlanta Hawks face several critical decisions over the offseason, including whether they should pass or pursue Saddiq Bey in free agency.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks
Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks had a terrible run with injuries throughout the 2023-24 NBA season. They lost their superstar Trae Young to a finger injury at a crucial stretch. De'Andre Hunter was out for a while, and Jalen Johnson missed multiple stretches of the season amongst so many other injuries.

The worst injury in terms of impact on a player, was the season-ending knee injury to Saddiq Bey. Not only was the fourth-year player playing for his NBA future, but the forward was also a crucial part of the Hawks' success when he went down with his knee injury.

Prior to his injury, in 63 games Bey averaged 13.7 points, 6.5 assists, 1.5 assists, and 0.8 steals in 32.7 minutes per game. Given that he was the third or fourth option on any given night, these are really good numbers. So, has the forward done enough to warrant the Hawks pursue him or should they pass on the big man?

Why the Atlanta Hawks may pass on Saddiq Bey

The problem for the Hawks or any other team that wants to sign Bey is that no one is sure when the big man will come back or at what level he will be able to play. This is the issue with a player needing to sign a deal when they are injured. However, they may be a benefit for the Hawks in this situation.

There is no doubt that Bey is a player who would have garnered plenty of interest if he had finished the season healthy. Fortunately for the Hawks, Bey's phone will be quieter when free agency starts as the offers will not be rolling in thanks to the injury.

This means that the Hawks will be able to offer Bey the qualifying offer of $8.5 million, allowing them to keep a quality player when they are strapped for salary cap room. They can plan for the big man to be out for the first part of the season and then have a fresher player to help in the back half of the season.

Bey is a quality shooter who can microwave points like very few others on the Hawks roster. He can start and come off the bench, which could afford the Hawks more flexibility next season. One thing is for sure, unless the Hawks can trade away some of their bigger contract, re-signing Bey is the best option available to them.

So should the Hawks pass or pursue Saddiq Bey? They should definitely pursue him, the upside of when he returns is too hard to ignore. Plus, he is going to have a team-friendly deal that could potentially help in trade talks if the Hawks season goes in a similar fashion to this one.