Grading each of the Hawks offseason moves



The Hawks shook things up a bit this offseason by clearing house and setting themselves up for the future. They spent most of their time finding their way out of money than investing money into free agents, but there are going to be a number of new faces around Phillips Arena this season. Ever since Coach Budenholzer’s arrival, the Hawks have thrived in finding undervalued talent that has led to the franchise’s most successful run of years. These guys might not be household names, but could be in for some giant pay raises after their time with the Hawks.

Hawks trade Dwight Howard and the 31st pick to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick

It did not take long for the new general manager to come in and shake things up. Just prior to draft night he executed a trade that would send the infamous Dwight Howard out of town after just one season with the team. Howard was not bad for Atlanta. He actually had quite a successful year from an efficiency standpoint last season, but he is also not a championship cornerstone that he once was. The move to get rid of him was the right one by Schlenk, although the return is far from anything to write home about.

All the Hawks get here is cap relief, and the do not really even get much of that until next season when Belinelli is off the books. Regardless they still have Miles Plumlee’s ugly contract on the books for three more seasons. They also gave up 10 spots in a loaded draft that landed them a much lesser player. The Hawks may have gotten some salary cap relief by moving Dwight Howard, but it is hard to find many other reasons to like this trade. It is simply a testament to just how far Dwight Howard’s value has plummeted around the league.

Grade: D+

Hawks complete three team sign-and-trade deal that sent a second rounder to Denver for Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone and a first-round pick from the Clippers. The Clippers received Danilo Gallinari. 

If the Hawks did not already show their rebuilding hand with the Dwight Howard trade, they certainly did when they did not even offer Paul Millsap a contract, who was an unrestricted free agent. This trade essentially served as a sign and trade of Millsap despite him technically not being in the trade

The disappointing part about this move is the Hawks letting one of their best players walk for basically nothing. Just a year ago, teams were offering multiple first-round picks and players for a year of his services. Hopefully, that is not going happen anymore under Travis Schlenk.

The good news is they were able to get something, when it looked like they would get nothing. They received a first-round pick that will likely end up near the end of the round. The team bought out Jamal Crawford and then waived Diamond Stone after summer league.

Grade: C-

Hawks re-sign Mike Muscala to a two-year, $10 million deal

Moose has developed into a nice role player since being drafted in the second-round out of Bucknell. He is one of Coach Budenholzer’s favorite players, and should see a huge uptick in minutes with the departure of both Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard.

It seems like this time last year we were all marveling at the huge contracts even secondary players were signing. That was not the case this offseason, as many players such as Muscala experienced very cold markets and opted to sign short contracts in hopes for a bigger one in the future.

Five million dollars annually for a player like Muscala is a bargain. The contract includes a player option in the second season, which Muscala will likely utilize as his production will increase with more playing time. With a couple of the faces of the franchises heading out the door, it is nice seeing a familiar one stick around.

Grade: C+

Hawks re-sign Ersan Illyasova to a one-year deal

It did not look like the Hawks planned on keeping Illyasova after they renounced his rights making him an unrestricted free agent. But with the team unwilling to commit money to the future, they did not have many other options.

With Illyasova, you know what you are getting. He is going to be professional, fits nice in the Hawks offense, and will average about 12 points and five rebounds. This is what he is been doing his whole career, and Coach Budenholzer really appreciated what he brought over when the Hawks traded for him in the middle of last season.

There is not much here, but the key is that Atlanta once again remained flexible by signing him to just a one-year deal

Grade: C

Hawks sign Dewayne Dedmon to a 2-year, $14 million deal

This is a similar deal to Muscala’s. It is relatively cheap for a player of his caliber and includes a player option in the second season. He averaged 5.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 76 games as a backup center for the Spurs last season, and posesses similar traits to Dwight Howard. Don’t expect him to shoot a jumper, but he is tremendously active on the boards and on the defensive end.

Taking a look at the Hawks current roster, there is a very good chance Dedmon starts at center for Atlanta next season. He put up a respectable PER of 16 as a backup and should be able to nearly replicate the kind of production we saw from Dwight Howard at a fraction of the price.

Dedmon could be the diamond in the rough in the Hawks free agent class. He is an elite paint defender and still has room to grow overall. The only disappointing part about this signing is if Dedmon does indeed exceed expectation he will likely opt out to become a free agent.

Grade: B

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