Hawks: Free agent centers to replace Oneyka Okongwu

DHZ200201012 MIN vs LAC

News broke late Wednesday night of Oneyka Okongwu’s surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, which took a bit of wind out of the sails of Hawks fans. Big O is an ascending and intriguing talent, and after an injury-plagued rookie season, everyone was eager to see what he could do over a full 82-game stretch. His impact in the playoffs was notable, and his development will suffer because of this setback, but Travis Schlenk doesn’t have the luxury of standing pat. He must bring in another body to backup Clint Capela, so here are a few free agents the Hawks could be interested in.

Dwight Howard

Howard has officially accepted his role as a reserve center and, in recent stops, played more for the team than himself. He’ll never be a threat on the offensive end of the court outside of anything at the rim, but he’s an effective rebounder and shot-blocker.

Richaun Holmes

Holmes is easily my favorite player on this list, but he may end up being too pricey for the Hawks, who are looking for more of a reserve big-man. Holmes averaged 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds as a starter for the Kings this past season, shooting over 60% from the field. He doesn’t yet have a jump shot, but he does offer a bit in the playmaking department, averaging nearly two assists per contest, and he protects the paint. Holmes would be an excellent addition to the Hawks roster if he came at a reasonable price.

Serge Ibaka

Injury concerns may steer the Hawks away from Ibaka, but he’s still an intimidating shot blocker and decent three-point shooter when on the floor.

Nerlens Noel

Offensively, Noel offers next to nothing, but he would bring a lot more length and defense to the Hawks roster.

Robin Lopez

Robin Lopez isn’t a sexy name, but he has a reliable hook shot and all-around post game offensively. He’s a capable rim-protector as well.

Daniel Theis

Theis will bring energy and defense to anybody who signs him. He also has a decent three-point shot but needs to improve in that area.

Tristan Thompson

Thompson’s career is on its last legs, but he’s still a menace on the offensive boards. He wouldn’t be a bad option as a backup center.

Frank Kaminsky

Kaminsky has never been much more than a reserve big man, but he’s effective when plugged into a lineup. He’s got a good stroke and decent handles, especially for someone seven-feet tall. However, his defense is lackluster.

Bismack Biyombo

Biyombo doesn’t finish well because of his stone hands, and he has no business taking a jump shot, but he’s a good shot-blocker and rebounder.

Gorgui Dieng 

Defensively, he’s reliable around the rim — swatting shots away regularly. Offensively, he’s a floor-spacing big man who likes to shoot from the corners.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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