After winning eight of their last ten games, it’s becoming more unlikely that the Hawks make a blockbuster trade prior to the deadline. However, I do expect them to make at least one move before the bell rings on February 10th.
The Hawks could use another defensive-minded piece and an extra playmaker. One of the players that fit the bill is Josh Hart of the Pelicans. The Hawks have been linked to Hart a few times leading up to the trade deadline, but it was unclear exactly what Atlanta might be sending back in return… until now. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Hawks and Pelicans have engaged in trade talks surrounding Josh Hart and Kevin Huerter.
I’m a fan of Kevin Huerter. He’s scoring the ball more efficiently than he ever has in his career and is a plus-defender when he puts his mind to it on that end of the floor. We saw that first-hand during the Hawks’ magical postseason run last season. On top of that, Travis Schlenk extended him this past offseason — a four-year extension that doesn’t even kick in until next season. Huerter is a core member of the Hawks, but if it makes the team better, it makes sense, and Hart could bring a little something extra to Atlanta.
I like the idea of adding Hart for multiple reasons. Most importantly, he’s an upgrade over Huerter. Hart has broken out this season to the tune of 13.4 points on 50.5% shooting, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. He’s not quite the shooter that Huerter is and never will be, but he brings more to the table in just about every other aspect.
Another appealing facet to this deal is Hart’s contract. Huerter’s four-year, $70 million deal begins next season. Meanwhile, Hart is only scheduled to make $24 million combined over the next two seasons. It may not sound like much, but with so many Hawks expected to get paid in the coming years, it gives Travis Schlenk much more financial flexibility — a staple of his tenure as the Hawks GM.
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