Pass or pursue: Exploring the Atlanta Hawks' options with Trent Forrest

The Atlanta Hawks need to start sorting out their roster and one of the decisions that they need to make is what to do with Trent Forrest.
Mar 27, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trent Forrest (2) drives the ball
Mar 27, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trent Forrest (2) drives the ball / Jordan Godfree-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks seem to be at a crossroads when it comes to their roster. They made Trae Young the face of the franchise when they made the trade on draft night that sent Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks. However, the Hawks muddied the water on that when they traded for Dejounte Murray. Unfortunately for the Hawks' the backcourt has not gelled.

The problem is that the Hawks seem to perform at a higher level when Young was injured, and Murray was running the team. The Hawks' defense improved without Young and while Murray was a big influence on that, it was the play of bench pieces like Trent Forrest that had the biggest impact.

The Hawks mishandled the Forrest situation last season. He was a two-way player at the start of the season before the Hawks used up his availability. They then took their time to make a decision, keeping him on the College Park Skyhawks and wasting a roster spot on the varsity squad. Eventually, they waived Patty Mills and signed Forrest to a rest-of-the-season contract.

The Atlanta Hawks need low-cost bench players

The Hawks are in a very difficult position given how badly the team is performing and the lack of wiggle room that they have in the salary cap. Without a major personnel change, the Hawks risk paying out mediocrity on the court while paying out close to $170 million next season.

Unless the Hawks manage to make the right trades to free up cap space, they are going to need to sign quality players at a low cost. So, why not sign Forrest? Well, the problem with that is that it will be more of the same from last season.

Forrest is a solid defender but he lacks the confidence on the offensive end to be an X-factor. The Hawks have the additional complication that Forrest can no longer be a two-way player as he has spent too many consecutive seasons in the league so he must be given a full contract if he is signed.

If the Hawks make the trade that can free up salary cap room, then there is a case for the front office to offer Forrest a short-term deal. However, if the Hawks cannot move any of their high-end contracts, then Forrest should start looking for another NBA home. He is not going to move the needle enough to be re-signed so the Hawks need to pass on Forrest.