Ah, the NBA really doesn’t have an offseason, and I love it. The thrill continues for NBA fans, as perhaps the best part of the year for a lot teams, starts at 12 AM tonight. This year’s free agency class is not nearly as loaded as next year’s will be, but there is still a lot of game changing talent on the market. The Hawks have two of their own starters who will be testing free agency. Paul Millsap has already opted out of his contract to become a unrestricted free agent, and Tim Hardaway Jr. will be a restricted free agent come midnight.
Will the Hawks try and re-sign their Anchorman, or will a changing of the guard occur? We have heard multiple different reports about their own free agents and others. The truth will come out in the coming days, but right now the always entertaining guessing game continues When it comes to a Hawks free agent wish list, there are three categories: the long shots, the teasers, and the targets.
The Long Shots
Gordon Hayward– Hayward has blossomed into a superstar that very few expected him to be with the Jazz. He has serious interest in leaving the Jazz and would be an absolute perfect fit into Coach Budenholzer’s system. Not to mention, he is just now entering his prime. He could be even better next season. But the reality of the situation is this is not happening for a variety of reasons.
Nerlens Noel– With Dwight Howard gone, the Hawks have to be looking for a future at center. Could you imagine a starting five of Schroder, Hardaway Jr., Prince, Collins and Noel? That would be a whole lot of young upside. Dallas looks like they are going to do anything they can to keep him, though. And he probably is not worth that kind of money.
J.J. Redick– We all saw how perfectly Korver fit into Budenholzer’s system. Redick is a younger version that can score off the dribble a little better. He probably will not be a lot of team’s first option, but the Hawks will have their eye on him from the beginning of the process. There could be mutual interest here, but he will likely land elsewhere.
Rudy Gay– What Hawks fan has not day dreamed about having Rudy Gay on their team? Gay will be a lot of team’s back up plans if they miss out on the big stars. His achilles injury should make him more affordable, but unfortunately teams will probably still offer Gay big bucks. Atlanta should and will balk on offering Gay a long-term contract.
Jonothan Simmons– Simmons did not exactly light it up in his first two seasons in the NBA with the Spurs. He played in 78 games last season averaging 17.8 minutes, 6.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists. However, he showed us something in that final playoff series against the Warriors when Leonard was out. Simmons led the Spurs in scoring that series and averaged 10.5 points per contest throughout the postseason. He has real potential and looks to just be tapping into it. I am sure the Hawks give the 27-year old a look, and if the Spurs are not willing to pony up the money, he could end up in Atlanta.
Shabazz Muhammad– Muhammad has lost his way in Minnesota. A lot of that had to do with their incredible wing depth, and some of it has to do with Muhammad not reaching expectations. Despite averaging under 20 minutes a game last season, Shabazz was still able to average 9.9 points a game. He is not a terrible rebounder either, but has very little playmaking ability. Maybe that is something he can improve on under Coach Budenholzer, but either way, he will likely be looking for another home and is an efficient scoring option.