The Atlanta Hawks are still stuck in their .500 ways.
At 7-7, and coming off of a 41-41 season, some on the outside are already thinking about potential shakeups even with the trade deadline still three months away.
“If the perpetually mediocre Hawks have yet to take flight when [Jerami] Grant becomes trade-eligible on Jan. 15, they might view him as their missing third star,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on November 24. “That's overselling his impact a bit, but a big-wing defender who offers three-level scoring is quite valuable in the modern game.”
Buckley proposes Atlanta offer a package centered around fifth-year forward De’Andre Hunter to the Portland Trail Blazers for fellow forward Jerami Grant, who profiles very similarly to the Hawks wing.
Grant certainly isn’t on the same timeline as most of his teammates on the rebuilding Blazers.
He is averaging 22.8 points on 56.9% true shooting, connecting on 40.4% of his looks from beyond the arc with 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season.
“The 29-year-old, who inked his five-year, $160 million pact before Damian Lillard requested a ticket out of Portland, looked immediately out of place when the Blazers shifted into a rebuild,” Buckley wrote. “Grant is objectively overpaid, but suitors who can stomach his salary would covet his defensive versatility and complementary offensive game.”
Hunter, 25, started a four-year, $90 million contract extension this season. He is averaging 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this season, shooting 34.4% from downtown. Swapping him for Grant would add more than $5 million to the bottom line this season.
Sitting $9.6 million below the luxury tax threshold, the Hawks could withstand the increase.
It would make their long-term outlook more complicated with an additional $70 million on the books going forward if they followed through.
Hawks might not be close enough to contention for Jerami Grant trade
But the bigger issue could be having to surrender a draft pick. While it is lottery-protected, the Sacramento Kings are off to another strong start this season meaning it should convey. Do the Hawks feel like they are a Jerami Grant away to not need the pick? Their financial future has to play a part with Dejounte Murray and Onyeka Okongwu’s extensions kicking in next season.
The Hawks could always look to move Clint Capela for some additional cap relief. They explored the idea this offseason and are slated to have $8.7 million in space under the tax line in 2024-25 as is.
Their ‘24-’25 payroll would increase by $8.1 million going from Hunter to Grant as proposed.
Capela has been a vital part of the Hawks’ success, even with his short comings on the offensive end of the floor. Replacing him could prove far easier said than done.