With so much uncertainty in the front office, nobody really knows how the Hawks will approach the trade deadline. They seemed to go all-in this past offseason by acquiring Dejounte Murray, but then they traded away one of their best young pieces — Kevin Huerter — for essentially nothing just to avoid being over the luxury tax. There hasn’t been much rhyme or reason to what the Hawks have done over the last year, which is why predicting what they will do leading up to the trade deadline is next to impossible.
There’s a chance the Hawks decide to shed more salary by offloading John Collins, Bogdan Bogdonavic, and others — even if it isn’t conducive to winning. Given all the team gave up to acquire Dejounte Murray in the summer, that would be a brutal way to end his first season in Atlanta, but it has to be something the team is considering.
As a fan, I would like to see the Hawks be aggressive and attempt to improve the team as much as possible leading up to the deadline. They don’t have too much to offer in terms of draft picks and young assets, but there are moves that could be made to improve this roster for the second half of the season. Here are three trade targets that could have the Hawks looking like a different team after the trade deadline.
Leaving the Lakers has allowed Kuzma to thrive. He’s averaging 21.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists a game for the Wizards and can play on the wing or at the power forward spot. There have been reports suggesting a Collins for Kuzma swap, and that’s something I could get behind if the Wizards would oblige.
Kuzma is a better fit for the Hawks offense. He can shoot better from distance and attack the basket off the dribble — two areas Collins has been abysmal at this season. Kuzma is also only under contract for the rest of this season, so financially, the Hawks wouldn’t be on the hook for a lot of money, and they would be able to rid themselves of the three years left on Collins’ deal.
A year ago, this is a deal the Wizards would have completed in a heartbeat. Things have changed due to how poorly Collins has performed this season, and recent reports suggest the Wizards are hesitant to move Kuzma. However, I still think he could get moved for the right price.
I’m not sure the Hawks have the necessary assets to pull off a deal for Clarkson, but it would make a lot of sense for the Jazz to sell high on him right now. Utah isn’t seriously set to contend this season, even if they are overachieving, and Clarkson will likely opt out of his contract at season’s end, making him a free agent. The Jazz should continue their rebuild by selling off their veteran pieces, and Clarkson would provide a huge boost to Atlanta’s second unit.
The 2021-2022 Sixth Man of the Year award recipient is having another stellar campaign, averaging 21.1 points, 4.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds. He thrives coming off the bench, which is exactly what the Hawks should be looking for at the trade deadline. Atlanta desperately needs another playmaker, particularly with their second unit, and it helps that Clarkson can play both guard positions. He would be a tremendous addition to this Hawks team.
Again, the Hawks may not have the assets to make this trade following the Dejounte Murray deal. But if possible, Bogdanovic brings a ton to the table. He’s blossomed into one of the most efficient scorers in the league, averaging 21.5 points on 49.1% from the field and 42.2% from behind the arc. Like Kuzma, Bogdanovic also has the ability to play out on the wing or serve as a stretch-four. If the Hawks could find a taker for Collins and land a first round draft pick, and then turn those draft picks into Bogdanovic, they will be a much better team. Bogdanovic is also only under contract for the rest of this season, which would give Atlanta some financial flexibility moving forward as well.
Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire