The Atlanta Hawks entered this offseason coming off of a second straight first round exit, but this year there is far more optimism after pushing Boston to six games and feeling like there is something to build off of.
This will be Quin Snyder’s first offseason as head coach of the Hawks, after he signed on midseason following the firing of Nate McMillan. After their playoff series, star guard Trae Young expressed his excitement about what Snyder was going to bring the team with a full offseason to install his system, as the Hawks look to avoid the Play-In this coming season. If they’re to do so, they’ll have to see some internal improvement under Snyder, as — as of now — there aren’t any major changes being made to the roster.
Atlanta had a fairly quiet offseason, making one major trade and, otherwise, only making additions via the Draft. Here, we’ll take stock of their summer so far, handing out grades for their Draft, free agency signings and contract extensions, and work on the trade market.
The Hawks brought in three players via the Draft, with Kobe Bufkin as their first round selection and then adding Mouhamed Gueye and Seth Lundy in the second round. Bufkin and Gueye signed 4-year rookie deals to join the main roster, while Lundy signed a two-way contract. The Bufkin and Gueye picks were both well received, with our Brad Rowland giving Atlanta an A- for the Bufkin pick, explaining the grade as follows.
Bufkin is a very strong pick for the Hawks. He checks a lot of boxes on both ends of the floor with shooting guard size and point guard skills. Bufkin has strong basketball feel and he is already a quality defender that could continue to improve as he gets stronger.
Bolstering their point guard rotation and adding another young big made for a solid draft night, as the Hawks did well to seemingly maximize pick value.
Free Agency/Extensions: B
The Hawks haven’t signed any free agents this summer, which is rather incredible, but this was a team that came into the offseason without any real departures from their rotation. While they’ve been active in the trade market (both in discussions and deals getting done), they were never going to do much when it came to free agency.
There was one major contract decision for the Hawks to make, and that was whether to give a 4-year, $120 million contract extension to Dejounte Murray (the max they could offer this summer). They did and Murray accepted, as he got the big long-term deal he was seeking without having to be concerned about the free agent market next summer. Given what we saw this year with some free agents getting squeezed, it’s hard to blame him even if he very well could’ve gotten a bigger deal on the open market. For the Hawks, they’re now committed to the Murray-Young backcourt after some rumblings Murray was a part of trade talks early in the summer, but get Murray at a potential discount by locking him up on an extension now rather than waiting another year — and don’t have to worry about the possibility of losing him in free agency after trading so many draft picks to keep him around.
After years of trying to move John Collins but balking at the offers from other teams, the Hawks finally sent him to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Rudy Gay and a second round pick. It was far less value than Collins’ production deserves in return in a vacuum, but considering how much is left on his contract (three years, $78 million remaining), how he was coming off the least productive season of his career, and the lack of teams with cap room this summer, there weren’t a lot of options. We have grown accustomed to the Hawks making moves to dodge the tax in recent years, but doing so and selling low is particularly bad and it’d be hard to sell lower on Collins than this summer.
They did do well in taking advantage of the Rockets’ haste to create more room for their pursuit of Brook Lopez by bringing in Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington, who they flipped alongside Gay for Patty Mills in a deal with the Thunder. Mills gives them a veteran guard who can shoot for their bench rotation, but how much he can help them is a question mark as he enters his 15th season in the league and is coming off a season in Brooklyn where he was used sparingly.
There is, of course, a chance the Hawks make another splash in the trade market and change their grade, as there are still rumblings of interest in Pascal Siakam amid their very public efforts to trade De’Andre Hunter. However, for now, they’ve not done particularly well, entirely because of the Collins trade made too late.