An aspect of No. 1 pick that Hawks fans aren’t talking about

NBA: APR 01 Hawks at Bulls

When the Hawks won the lottery on Sunday, fans immediately began debating who they should draft.

The consensus among fans and NBA pundits for Atlanta is Alex Sarr, who is almost like the lite version of Victor Wembanyama. The Frenchmen are incredibly versatile big men, but Wembanyama was much more developed coming into the Association compared to Sarr.

There was a portion of Hawks fans that also debated that Landry Fields should trade the No. 1 pick for a win-now player, but what nobody is talking about is the financial implications of defying the odds and winning the lottery.

The Hawks were projected to have the No. 10 pick, which would’ve cost the team around $5.5 million. Now, the No. 1 pick will increase Atlanta’s payroll by $7 million and cost the Hawks $12.6 million. Why does this even matter?

It matters because Tony Ressler’s payroll will be around $175.9 million and is projected to be in the luxury tax for the first time in more than a decade. It matters because the Hawks’ principal owner has ducked paying any sort of luxury tax penalty at all costs.

The Hawks can shed obvious salaries like Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, and Dejounte Murray, but regardless of what they do with the No. 1 overall pick and that player’s salary, Tony Ressler better be careful about cutting costs.

For the first time in his career, Trae Young hasn’t been 100% confident about staying in Atlanta. The Hawks superstar has been supportive of the organization at every failing turn, constantly reiterating that he wants to be here.

However, about a month ago after the Hawks were eliminated from the play-in tournament, Young said winning is his top priority, adding that if it can’t happen in Atlanta, change will be in the future.

To further that notion, a recent report from Shams Charania suggests that Young will begin to apply pressure on Ressler and the organization if they fail to put a competitive roster around him this season.

Landry Fields and ownership must do everything in their power to improve the team as much as possible. If Ressler refuses to pay to surround Trae Young with more talent, the Hawks star will rightfully be disgruntled.

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire


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