Hawks 'expected' to explore trade options with $46 million starter

One league insider shed new light on the Atlanta Hawks' trade plans for the offseason amid speculation about the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NBA Draft.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks might be closer to a decision on the No. 1 overall pick than most believe.

Armed with the pick for the first time since 1975, French big man Alexandre Sarr is the favorite to be the selection. And despite General Manager Landry Fields’ assertion to cast a wide net, the Hawks’ rumored plans for one of their current players could hint at their decision.

According to The Stein Line’s Marc Stein, the Hawks will once again explore their trade options with former rebounding champion Clint Capela.

“Another center likely bound for the trade market … this offseason: Atlanta's Clint Capela,” Stein wrote on May 19. “The presence of Onyeka Okongwu and potential arrival of another big man through the draft, with Atlanta holding the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since 1975, is expected to make Capela available.”

Capela is going into the final year of a two-year, $45.8 million contract.

Stein points to “serious” talks between the Hawks and Dallas Mavericks over the big man at the deadline.

Those talks stalled over the Hawks’ insistence on receiving the No. 10 overall pick and promising young wing Josh Green. It may have been Green’s inclusion more than the draft capital that led to the deal falling through.

Dallas also happened upon their center of the present and future with the No. 10 pick in Dereck Lively 11 after swinging a draft-day trade.

With that situation playing out as it did, it will be interesting to see if the Hawks asking price fell.

Other teams that were said to have an interest in Capela include the New Orleans Pelicans and even his former team, the Houston Rockets. Houston traded for Steven Adams, who missed all of 2023-24 with a knee injury.

That could make New Orleans a prime destination with the Hawks also linked to Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.

“A growing belief leaguewide that Pelicans will aggressively explore the trade market for Brandon Ingram before next season,” Stein wrote on May 12. “A handful of Eastern Conference teams (Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and Orlando) have already been mentioned as potential trade suitors for Ingram.”

The Cavs and Magic pose the greatest threat to the Hawks for Ingram. 

Proposed trade adds Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram, keeps star duo

We previously explored a hypothetical trade package for Ingram that would have sent Capela in a package with Dejounte Murray to the Pelicans. Another option would be to add Ingram to the duo of Murray and Young, diversifying the offense and freeing up Murray to focus more on defense.

This hypothetical package sends De’Andre Hunter with Capela to the Pelicans for Brandon Ingram, giving the latter a new starting center and complement for Trey Murphy and Herb Jones.

CC/Dre for BI/Nance

Why would the Hawks commit even more draft capital to a group headlined by the duo they might break up?

Because they can recoup those picks in subsequent deals in a teardown.

So much went into putting this current twosome together. Giving it two more key pieces in a bonafide scorer in Ingram – 23.1 PPG on 57.7 TS% since 2019-20 – and a potential two-way center in Sarr to go with the versatility of Murray and Jalen Johnson makes just as much sense.

The Hawks could even include 2022 first-round pick AJ Griffin in the deal if they are still worried about the luxury tax with Young extension eligible.

They would also keep Okongwu in the scenario above, though that may be wishful thinking.

At any rate, Capela could offer the Hawks a viable alternative to breaking up their star backcourt in terms of dollar-for-dollar. Likewise for Hunter. Will the stars finally align to consummate a deal with the Pelicans this offseason?