Proposed offseason trade ships Hawks starter for $70 million duo, draft capital

The Atlanta Hawks were rumored to have made several players available for trade ahead of the deadline, and one could bring back a haul this offseason.

Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

In sports, teams like the Atlanta Hawks (26-33) often run into issues not with spending money in general, but rather with how they allocate their resources.

They have talent but there are serious questions about how it all fits together.

There appears to be some realization of that fact internally, with rumors of various players being on the trade block ahead of the deadline. One of them, Clint Capela, could be of interest to the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason.

Memphis traded injured starter Steven Adams and, in a new proposal from Bleacher Report, replaces him this summer with the former rebounding champion.

“The Grizzlies should be back in the playoffs next season … although they'll need a new starting center after dealing injured big man Steven Adams to the Houston Rockets,” Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz on February 29. “Capela, 29, is a perfect fit as a rebounder and defender, someone who can feed off pick-and-rolls.”

Swartz’s hypothetical scenario would land a package of players and picks.

Capela to Grizzlies

Ziaire Williams, 22, is averaging 8.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. A 6-foot-9 former top-10 pick (2021), he has not been efficient. Williams is shooting 31% from beyond the arc this season.

He did, however, go 4-for-7 from downtown en route to 27 points against the Milwaukee Bucks just before the All-Star break. He also had four assists, four rebounds, and three steals.

Williams would be going into the final year of his four-year, $19.9 million rookie contract.

Clarke, 27, would be in Year 2 of a four-year, $50 million contract. The No. 21 overall pick in 2019, he has been out all season after suffering a torn Achilles in March of last season. He was in the midst of his fourth straight season averaging double-digit points.

An All-Rookie team selection, Clarke averaged 12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists that season, finishing fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.

Clarke and Williams’ respective contracts are worth $69.9 million combined.

However, this trade would shave roughly $3 million off the Hawks’ books for 2024-25 with Capela earning $22.3 million in the final year of his two-year, $45.9 million pact. The Hawks could also replace the pick they owe to the San Antonio Spurs from the trade for Dejounte Murray.

Hawks trade proposal would open up starting job for Onyeka Okongwu

Swartz also points to a clearer runway for fourth-year center Onyeka Okongwu, who is currently sidelined with a projected date of March 8 to be re-evaluated.

Capela, 29, is averaging 11.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game this season. 

His blocks are up from last season. But his scoring, efficiency, and rebounding are all down from the 2022-23 campaign. Capela’s rebounding numbers have dipped for a third consecutive season, while his 56.4% field goal percentage is the second-lowest mark of his career.

The Hawks were rumored to have made everyone outside of Trae Young and Jalen Johnson – and perhaps Okongwu and rookie Kobe Bufkin – available at the trade deadline

There is some external noise that Young could be on the block this offseason.

But exploring ways to offload Capela makes far more sense than trying to get commensurate value for Young, who for his part has maintained that he wants to win in Atlanta. The Hawks haven’t done that but there is still time.

Modernizing their frontcourt rotation could be in order. Capela’s skill set would be huge off the bench, though his salary suggests otherwise.