This morning, the Hawks officially inked John Collins to a five-year, $125 million contract. The deal comes with a player option for the fifth season, but Atlanta has locked up the two pillars of their core through the 2024-2025 season, at the very least. This is an exciting time for basketball in Atlanta, as the Hawks are coming off their best season in franchise history and have inked their two best players to long-term contracts. But with that excitement comes expectations, as fans anxiously await for this team to take the next step and bring the first NBA championship to the city of Atlanta.
In order for that to happen, significant improvements have to occur. The Nets should be healthy next year; the Bucks are the reigning NBA Champions; Philadelphia will be back, and several teams — like the Heat, Bulls, and Knicks — improved this offseason. The East is going to be a dogfight. Not improving off their season-best campaign is not an option for the Hawks. Some of that improvement will come internally from player development and health, but I’m not sure Travis Schlenk is done making moves.
It wouldn’t be shocking if the Hawks felt the bulk of their business was done this offseason. They don’t have any glaring holes, and there are only a couple of roster spots that need to be filled. However, according to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, the Hawks are aiming to make at least one more move beyond just re-signing Collins. At the time of Schultz’s article, Collins had not re-signed yet, so one domino down, but it looks like there could be one more to go.
Of course, this other move that Schultz is referring to could simply be a veteran depth signing. It’s been rumored Paul Millsap is interested in returning to Atlanta, where he had the best years of his career. He would be a terrific addition to the end of the Hawks bench. Travis Schlenk could also opt to bring back Lou Williams as another point guard option. He was very good at times behind Trae Young and brought a valuable veteran presence to the locker room last season.
However, I like to think bigger. The Hawks remain well-positioned to make a run at any star player that becomes available. Right now, everyone seems rather happy, but this is the NBA, which is an ongoing soap opera. Expect Travis Schlenk to be scouring the trade block consistently, waiting for the next disgruntled star to voice their displeasure.