Going into this offseason, the Hawks are in a pretty good situation on paper. They have some of the best draft assets in a loaded class and have more than double the cap space of any other team. But do not expect them to be contenders in NBA free agency this summer by any stretch.
Following the crazy spending that followed the NBA salary cap spike, with cap holds intact only five teams are projected to have cap space available this offseason. The Hawks will have $18,325,439 to operate with, and teams across the NBA will be desperate to pawn off their bad contracts to them. New general manager Travis Schlenk’s endgame will obviously be to pick up more draft capital as the Hawks go through their own “process” of sorts.
Obviously, nobody wants a long-term bad contract, but let’s say for example a team wants to make a push for Lebron James or another superstar this offseason. The Hawks can take on money this year and possibly next year as well to facilitate a trade, pick up draft assets, and buy another season of having a team that is capable of tanking. Rome wasn’t built in one day, and while the Hawks do have a nice head start going on their rebuild, it is realistically going to be at least a two-year plan.
It just would not make sense for the Hawks to spend money on an impact free agent that would make them better this offseason when they were clearly a tanking team last year. It may not be exciting, but expect the Hawks to take on some money but in return garner another nice first round pick.