The Atlanta Hawks (23-29) have a tricky path to follow with regards to the Trent Forrest situation. The combo guard is on a two-way deal which means that he is only allowed to be active for 50 games with the Hawks. Despite only playing in 19, the Philadelphia game was the 50th of the NBA season that he was active with the Hawks.
In those 19 games, Forrest has averaged 2.1 points, 2.0 assists, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.4 steals in 10.6 minutes per game. While these numbers are modest, with the injury issues that the Hawks have had, the 10.6 minutes per game was an incredibly important number.
Still, Forrest struggled offensively with his efficiency, shooting the ball at a horrible 31.9 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. He was servicable from the line, going at 80.0 percent with the relatively small sample size of 10 free throws.Still, it was his ability to give Trae Young spells on the bench, not his offensive production that has made Forrest valuable.
So which path should the Atlanta Hawks take with Trent Forrest?
The Hawks have to decide on the future of Forrest but it is not as simple as that. They have to decide what they are going to do with the buyout market, if anything before they can decide on his future. If they decide to sign Killian Hayes, which would be a bad move, then Forrest would likely be waived, along with Patty Mills or Wesley Matthews.
The tricky part of the Forrest situation is that because he cannot play any more games, he is essentially a G-League player, and the Hawks are wasting a roster spot on him. To make matters worse, the Hawks have 15 active NBA contracts and so the only way that they can sign Forrest to a full deal is by waiving a veteran.
The Hawks obviously see something in the guard as this is the second two-way deal that they have signed to him to. In order not to waste the last two seasons, the Hawks really need to sign him to a deal if they think that he will add value to the team moving forward.
They could simply assign him to the G-League for the rest of the season if they wanted to continue to develop Forrest moving forward. However, this would be the frst sign, albeit a small one, that the Hawks have given up on the 2024 campaign. The season is almost lost but there is a difference between quietly quitting the season and openly acknowledging it.
While this is a decision which impacts the bottom end of the bench, it could have wider reaching ramifications for the franchise. It is not a decision that can be made lightly, and to be fair, it will take a couple of days to make given that the buyout markets is still unfolding. However, when it is made, it will give the rest of the NBA an insight into the mindset the Atlanta Hawks for the rest of the season.