Should the Atlanta Hawks guarantee Bruno Fernando's contract for next season?

With the Atlanta Hawks managing to get lucky in the draft lottery, what should they do with Bruno Fernando's contract for next season?
Atlanta Hawks center Bruno Fernando
Atlanta Hawks center Bruno Fernando / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks have a very different offseason coming up. They still have plenty of decisions to make, but they also have the first pick in the NBA draft for the first time since 1975. If they take the path that most would expect them to, they will draft Alexandre Sarr. But there is a chance that they go with a different player given that there are no standouts in the class.

The problem for the Hawks is that this is a weak draft, and they have a greater chance of missing on the No. 1 pick than in most other years. Given that they are in a tight spot when it comes to the salary cap, it is likely that they will go with Sarr. They can then trade Clint Capela and give themselves some more wiggle room.

So, the question that remains from this piece of the puzzle is what the Hawks do with Bruno Fernando. The big man showed tremendous growth last season on the offensive end last season, and as a result, could provide an interesting level of value to the franchise.

Does Bruno Fernando provide the Atlanta Hawks a safety net moving forward?

One thing that Fernando brought to the Hawks this season almost every time he hit the court was energy. This is a crucial element for a team mid-way through a season that is struggling, which is the situation that the Hawks have found themselves in for the past couple of seasons.

Then there is the question of bang for the contractual buck. The Hawks are close to the tax threshold meaning that they will face potential restrictions moving forward. However, Fernando's contract is only $2.7 million next season. This is an insurance contract for if their first and second-choice center go down at the same time again, as they did this season.

Fernando is also an old-school center, and that works with the franchise. He does not have much range, nor can he really create his own shot. However, with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray being ball-dominant type players, all the big man needs to do is move without the ball and he can become very dangerous on the offensive end of the floor.

While Fernando does not move the needle much, any player not on a rookie contract who is earning less than $3.0 million a season is not expected to. What guaranteeing Fernando does is it gives the Hawks options either on the floor, or by adding a small contract to a trade to seal a deal. It should take the Hawks front office a few minutes to make the decision to guarantee this deal.