NBA Free Agency is looming, but the Hawks have already used up their cap space this offseason to secure draft assets. Now, they have about $13.6 million to spend on the market – not much in today’s era of basketball.
The good news is the Hawks have just about filled their roster. And from the construction of it, there will be a lot of “positionless” basketball. They have one glaring need unless one of the large expiring contracts is bought out: They do not have a true power forward behind John Collins. Atlanta may also choose to use some of that space to secure a backup point guard for the future. However, their main focus will be on keeping as much money available for next year as possible, so the most likely deals will be for one year.
A familiar face. Tolliver was ahead of his time. He was a stretch-four before stretch-fours were cool. Now, he is a veteran player who knows his role. And that is all the Hawks can ask for in free agency this season. If they want to keep a chunk of this money available in hopes of eating contracts, Tolliver is a career 37.6% shooter from beyond the arc and can be had at the league minimum. He can give you 10 minutes a night of spacing, leaving plenty of minutes available for their youth.
What Hawks fan wouldn’t want to see Mike Scott come back? The prospects may be dim, considering he was traded away for nothing. But for five years, Mike Scott was a presence off the bench for Atlanta, and I think he has gotten better. He has shot over 40% from three over the last two seasons and hit a crucial jumper in the Nets series for Philadelphia. His game suggests he may be an even better fit in Coach Lloyd Pierce’s offense. It boils down to how many minutes the Hawks want Hunter and Reddish to play at the four as rookies.
Not too long ago, Kenneth Faried was considered one of the rising young players in the NBA. He stalled out, but upon his arrival in Houston midseason, he looked like the “Manimal” of old. He is a pure hustle player who could add some great rebounding to the bench, and last year suggests that he is a fit in a free-flowing Hawks offense.
If Atlanta wants a guy to replace Dewayne Dedmon’s presence, Kenneth Faried is a different taste. He is by no means an outside shooter. But the addition of Bruno Fernando and the return of Miles Plumlee suggest that is precisely what they need to fill out the roster: a natural power forward. And with Dedmon being a sleeper free agent, he is in line for a deal elsewhere. If they still want a big man on a slightly inflated one-year deal, Faried could be in their price range.
I’m putting Brogdon on this list for two reasons: I have seen a lot of Hawks writers talk about a potential fit with Brogdon, and he’s probably right on the edge of what Travis Schlenk can spend this offseason. However, I’d say this signing is highly unlikely. The Hawks found a backup point guard for this season in Evan Turner, and any idea of Brogdon receiving the bulk of his minutes at shooting guard went out the window when Atlanta took Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter in the draft. Beyond that, I don’t see Schlenk being eager to dole out any money past the 2019-2020 season. He wants to see what the Hawks have in their young core then decide where to spend his money – which he will have boatloads of next offseason.
If the Hawks are interested in finding their backup point guard, Patrick Beverley is a more realistic option. He shouldn’t cost too much, brings more defense to the team, and should be a quality veteran presence for Trae Young to learn from.
Despite Dedmon receiving substantial interest from outside teams, there’s a chance he comes back on a fat contract for one more season. Both sides have benefited from the last two years together, but the addition of Bruno Fernando may mean Dedmon will be playing in another jersey next season.
Carter should be priority number one for the Hawks. The 41-year-old was a productive member of the bench last season, but more than anything, he was an unbelievable locker room presence. Now the Hawks have two new rookie wings – who better to learn from than Vinsanity himself.