By: TJ Hartnett
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The NBA offseason, unlike the MLB offseason, is divided somewhat neatly into two parts: pre-draft and post-draft.
This is to say that teams look forward to adding to their rosters primarily with the excitement and intrigue of the draft during the short time between it and the preceding NBA finals; and then they look forward to fortifying the rest of their squad afterwards via free agency.
Now that the NBA Draft is in the rearview mirror, the Atlanta Hawks need to look ahead. That starts with filling out the rest of their roster.
They have enough pieces that a serviceable team could conceivably be put on the court without any other additions, but there are enough question marks and uncertainties that free agency could hold some appeal for Travis Schlenk, should he want to pull the trigger on anyone.
Now we’re not talking about Kevin Durant, functioning Achilles’ or not. That’s obviously not in the cards for a ton of reasons (money for one, but also KD will want to go after an immediate ring, and the Hawks are still in rebuilding mode).
However, there are a few significant names that could potentially be lured to Atlanta. Malcolm Brogdon, for one, could work off of Trae Young or even sub in for the point guard when necessary.
He might find playing for his hometown team a sufficient enough draw to join the team, but – and this is why it’s unlikely to happen – he’d need to take a significant discount to return to his roots.
Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech) and Al-Farouq Aminu (Norcross High School) have local connections as well, and both could fit in well with the way the team is constructed, but again both are unlikely to find Atlanta’s offer better than something they could get elsewhere.
There’s a real question about options at center. Dewayne Dedmon is a free agent but he may yet return to the Hawks and solve that problem.
In truth, he might be the best available (and most affordable) option that Atlanta has. There are some other free agent centers, however – like Kevon Looney, who is young and talented, but who the Golden State Warriors might not let go of so easily.
Willie Cauley-Stein and Maxi Kleber are both on the table as well, but with the caveat that they’re restricted free agents and therefore their prices may be prohibitive.
Let’s not forget (very recent) former Hawk and future Hall of Famer Vince Carter as a potential free agent pick up for Atlanta. Carter, the oldest player in the league, seems to want to return and the Hawks are likely interested in the prospect as well.
The Hawks would know what they were getting in Carter, who would once again bring an invaluable intangible to the roster as a veteran, even though his lack of future value does drag down a team in the midst of building for the years ahead.
The Hawks are currently sitting with 14 contracted players (assuming that second round pick Bruno Fernando signs his deal in the near future) with space to add one more.
Any of the above could be Hawks before the season starts this fall (or several – there’s no reason to think that Schlenk couldn’t maneuver more roster spots through a savvy trade or two).
Whichever route they choose to take during this free agency period, expect the moves to be more practical than splashy. Deciding on a rebuild and sticking to it is a tough road to navigate, but so far it seems like the Hawks are planning to stay the course.