Should the Atlanta Hawks guarantee AJ Griffin's contract for next season?

The Atlanta Hawks have several decisions to make regarding their roster, and what they do with AJ Griffin is potentially one of their easiest.
Atlanta Hawks guard AJ Griffin
Atlanta Hawks guard AJ Griffin / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks are a team very much at the crossroads for the 2024 offseason. They are potentially going to trade either Trae Young or Dejounte Murray. They seem to struggle together on the court, and when Young was out, Murray led the team quite effectively.

However, the front office needs to make several other adjustments to the roster as well. There is a case for trading DeAndre Hunter or even Clint Capela who has potentially outlived his use with the Hawks. Do not expect this roster to be the same when the next season tips off.

Still, in order to make this happen, the Hawks will need to have players on their roster who can step in to the void and replace the minutes of those traded. They also need to have players that they can include in trades in case other teams need to have other players involved in these trades to match salary, amongst other considerations.

The Atlanta Hawks could have a solid investment in AJ Griffin

Despite the Hawks wasting Griffin's rookie season, they still have a tremendous 3-point shooter who could help space the floor for his point guard next season. There is little to no chance that Griffin will start next season, but if the Hawks do decide to pick up his team option, then they have a low-cost rotation player.

Griffin is due only $3.9 million next season, which is going to be crucial for the Hawks given that they are at $163 million of salary on their books already. The salary cap is set at $141 million next season, so, given that the Hawks were barely a play-in team this season, they have a problem.

The luxury tax line is $171 million and if the Hawks do not make a change, they only have 12 contracted players, and only $8 million to use to fill out the rest of the roster. To put it simply, the Hawks nee all the low-cost players that they can get, and Griffin has been in the system for two years already, so understands more of what the Hawks need when he hits the court.

If the Hawks do not think that they can get the best out of Griffin, then he is a player who will be able to be included in a trade. This could have the potential of improving the level of player, or players that the Hawks can get as a return.

This means that the Hawks should absolutely guarantee Griffin's contract for next season. If nothing else, this roster move will give the Hawks flexibility for next season.