The Hawks trade Kent Bazemore
Yes, I know it seems impossible that any team would take on Bazemore’s egregious contract, but that is what everybody thought about Brock Osweiler until he was eventually traded to the Browns. It may be different sports, but the Hawks should be able to find a bidder in a similar type of deal. Atlanta currently has 11 picks over the next three seasons and already has a nice young core in place to build around. Schlenk will be looking for any way possible to shed Bazemore’s contract, and the best, perhaps only way for that that to happen is if he packages some of those picks with Bazemore to a team that has the cap space to absorb such a contract. We discussed such deals in one of our recent articles here. As long as Bazemore is on the books, it is going to be impossible for the Hawks to reach the next level. However, the worst of Bazemore’s contract may be behind him, as he is a better player than he showed last season, and the cap will continue to rise making his contract look less putrid. Schlenk should be able to entice a struggling team to take on the contract for a couple of picks.
The Hawks will not re-sign Paul Millsap
If Schlenk is a smart guy, he should know not to invest over $200 million dollars into a player who will be 37 when the contract expires. Everyone around the organization has talked about how re-signing Paul Millsap is a priority, and it should be. Millsap has been the anchor for the organization for some time now. Schlenk will offer Millsap a more manageable three-year deal, trying to keep the team competitive, but will balk on extending him for five seasons. Millsap has already taken a hometown discount once, and is at the point in his career where this is going to be his last huge contract. He has every right to try and squeeze every penny out of it, and the Hawks have every right to make the correct decision and let him walk.
The Hawks re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr. to a contract north of $20 million annually
Most of the focus on free agency surrounds Paul Millsap, and for good reason. But it will not be Millsap landing the big deal from the Hawks offseason. Hardaway Jr. is going to cash in regardless of who he signs with. The Hawks traded for Hardaway two summers ago for their first-round pick. It took a little while to pay off, but Hardaway showed some real progression in his second season with the team. He is still under 25 years old and a restricted free agent. With the exploding cap, he is going get a ridiculous figure, but given his age, he has shown he has the potential to be worth that kind of money. Hardaway shot over 47% from the field in the second half of last season, averaging 17.5 points per contest. Him, Schroder and Prince would make a nice backcourt for the Hawks to build around. With Bazemore off the books and Millsap heading elsewhere, the Hawks have plenty of money to invest in their future, and that begins with Hardaway Jr.