This is part one of a three part series about free agent targets I like for the Hawks. Obviously, Atlanta’s number one priority will be bringing back John Collins, who is thankfully a restricted free agent. Atlanta will be shedding the big contracts of Tony Snell ($12 million) and possibly Lou Williams ($8 million), so even if the Hawks do ink John Collins to a big deal, they should be able to add a few pieces with Collins’ Bird Rights softening his cap hit. I’m pretty comfortable with most of this roster, and although there aren’t many big-name free agents, the Hawks could add a lot of solid pieces around Trae Young like they did last offseason. Injuries were a big problem for the Hawks all season, and in the postseason, so I imagine they will continue to value the depth that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals.
For the record, as long as the Hawks bring back John Collins, I’m comfortable rolling with Capela, Collins, Gallinari, Okongwu, Fernando, and Knight as Atlanta’s core big men. However, we saw the Hawks have issues defending the rim against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. If the Hawks decide to let Bruno Fernando go in 2022 and get some help on the interior, here are some guys that make sense for Atlanta. If you want to read about how much cap space the Hawks are projected to have, you can read about that here.
C Mitchell Robinson (Team Option)
I love Mitchell Robinson, but there’s a less than 0% chance that the Knicks turn down his team option. He’s 23, an incredible rim protector and rebounder, and led the NBA in field goal percentage in 2020. His team option is for $1.8 million, so while it would be nice, it’s a pipe dream.
C Gorgui Dieng (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Dieng may very well be my top choice here; he’s an impressive defender at the rim who averages around a block per game for his career and shot 43% from 3 last season. I think he’d be a great rotational piece for the Hawks, and he should come at a decent price.
C Richaun Holmes (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Holmes isn’t the type of shooter that I would typically target, but he’s a high-flying athlete who plays tough defense on the interior. Catching lobs from Trae Young should appeal to him.
C Serge Ibaka (Player Option)
I doubt Ibaka turns down his player option after injuries bugged him in 2020-2021. If he does hit the market, he could be a nice cheap vet who can play defense down low and nail some threes.
C Harry Giles (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Injuries have slowed down one of the best high school basketball recruits in recent memory, but I think Giles could be a solid rotational big man behind Okongwu. He shot almost 35% from 3 this past season, and he’s only 23 years old. Giles has a pretty mediocre defensive rating and gets into foul trouble, but if the Hawks go shopping in the bargain bin, maybe Giles can develop under Nate McMillan.
C Daniel Theis (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Theis is a solid shooter from 3 and can block some shots down low, which would make him a good fit behind Clint Capela and next to Gallinari or Okongwu.
F JaMychal Green (Player Option)
I don’t think Green turns down a Player Option either, and the Nuggets likely value the fact that he can shoot 40% from 3 as a stretch 4. I have wanted Green in Atlanta for a while, but with Gallinari on the roster, he’s probably not a fit.
F Blake Griffin (Unrestricted Free Agent)
It feels like Blake Griffin has been linked to the Hawks in trade rumors forever, and while he’s been slowed down by injuries, he had some solid performances with the Nets. He looked improved as a shooter, and he passed pretty well while defending multiple positions.
F Paul Millsap (Unrestricted Free Agent)
One of the greatest Hawks of the past decade, Millsap is getting up there in age for an NBA player, but I think his skillset will allow him to thrive into his later years. He can shoot, pass, and rebound at a high level — plus, I’d love to have him back in Atlanta.
F Georges Niang (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Niang was a solid defender for the Jazz and shot 42.5% from 3 — he could be a decent forward off the bench if the shots aren’t falling for Gallo.
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