Hawks: How the NBA’s shortened offseason affects Atlanta

dkf190930022 hawks media day

Last week, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBPA players representatives voted to start the 2020-2021 NBA season on December 22, which comprises a 72-game regular season. There are still many issues at hand that the owners and players must find common ground, such as the financials, the safety protocols, and free agency for the ’20-’21 season. But for now, there is at least a definitive start to the shortened campaign.



With the league announcing the shortened offseason, there will be those who benefit and those hindered by this decision. In my opinion, it warrants Travis Schlenk holding off on most extreme signings or trades. Obviously, if the right offer was presented, Schlenk would be a fool not to jump, but for now, the Hawks are negatively affected by this unusual offseason. 

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Hawks are actively shopping their first-round pick in an attempt to make a push in the Eastern Conference. Chase Irle gave his thoughts on O’Connor’s most recent mock draft, in which Atlanta sends the sixth overall pick to San Antonio for DeMar DeRozan and the 11th overall pick.

In the draft, the consolidated offseason eliminates a conventional training camp and D-league experience critical for rookies adjusting to the NBA’s playing speed. On top of that, this year’s draft class is not as deep as recent classes before it. There will be no bonafide star available at the sixth overall pick that guarantees production. If Atlanta truly seeks to compete for a playoff spot immediately, getting a starting-caliber piece for their sixth-overall pick could interest Schlenk. 

Although DeRozan is an interesting thought, it would be only a season-long rental. Instead of sincerely competing for a championship, it confirms whether or not Atlanta’s roster can compete if a star is added. Ideally — if the Hawks committed to DeRozan — they would make the playoffs, convincing other stars a championship is possible with the young core of Trae Young, John CollinsKevin HuerterDe’Andre HunterCam Reddish, and Clint Capela. The Hawks could then take that momentum and sign a max-contract level player in a much more talented 2021 free-agent class.

This year’s free-agent class is underwhelming and should justify contracting only short-term — preferably one-year — deals that the Hawks could get out of following the ’20-’21 season. There are no proven stars worthy of a max-contract offer, but there are free agents that would immediately improve Atlanta’s roster. Fred VanVleet, Davis BertansDanilo Gallinari, and Joe Harris could add much-needed shooting and defense but will also likely all command multi-year contracts. 

With $42 million to spend, general manager Travis Schlenk might be pressured to spend in FA by ownership as they get antsy to make a playoff run, but pushing that investment back a year seems to be the safest move. However, the brief offseason eliminates Schlenk’s ability to fully assess all possibilities, potentially forcing a premature decision.

Without an impact starter available at the sixth pick and a weak free-agent class, I don’t imagine the Hawks going all-in just yet. They will likely attempt to add one high-quality free-agent and fill the rest of their roster with hard-nosed veterans willing to take one-year deals. That could be a popular route for free-agents this season, given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. However, I do imagine one of Schlenk’s top priorities will be keeping enough money off the books for the 2022 season, so they can make a run at one of the many talented free agents in next year’s class.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: