This isn’t the most star-studded free-agent class in NBA history, but many eyes will be on Atlanta as John Collins becomes a restricted free agent. Thankfully, the Hawks can match any offer that he gets. Atlanta will have a decent amount of cap space before Trae Young’s massive extension that is looming, but they still have other role players from this magical season that they have to make decisions on. Here are my predictions and thoughts on which in-house free agents the Hawks decide to keep. I won’t be including Skylar Mays or Nathan Knight; both guys are playing on two-way contracts, and I want to bring them back. I expect the Hawks to accept their qualifying offers.
G/F Tony Snell
2020-2021 Salary: $12,000,000
2020-2021 Stats: 5.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.5% FG, 56.9% 3P, 100% FT
Coming off of the first 50/50/100 season in NBA history, if you look at the percentages, Tony Snell was well worth his $12 million price tag in 2020-2021. Snell was acquired in a salary dump when the Hawks sent Dewayne Dedmon to the Pistons, but he turned out to play pretty well for Atlanta. However, I think the Hawks will look elsewhere this offseason, as they have an opportunity to grab a solid 3-and-D wing or two in free agency or the draft that can probably give the team a little more than Snell provides.
G Lou Williams
2020-2021 Salary: $8,000,000
2020-2021 Stats: 11.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 41% FG, 39.9% 3P, 86.7% FT
I would love for Travis Schlenk to bring back the legend that is Lemon Pepper Lou, but I think Williams may retire or play elsewhere. Williams hinted at returning to Atlanta on Instagram, but I think the money will have to be right for a deal to work. He almost retired after being traded to the Hawks at the trade deadline in exchange for Rajon Rondo, but Williams stuck it out and was fantastic for Atlanta — especially during the playoffs. The Hawks will need to replace his bench production if he does go elsewhere, but hopefully with a healthy Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter in rotation, that task won’t require a big-name free agent.
F Solomon Hill
2020-2021 Salary: $2,174,318
2020-2021 Stats: 4.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 35.9% FG, 32% 3P, 76.1% FT
Solo had his moments for the Hawks in 2020-2021, but he disappeared in the playoffs. He was thrust into action a lot due to injury, and he played an important role during the regular season. I think the Hawks can find an upgrade in free agency or the draft, and there are already plenty when the roster is at full strength.
G Brandon Goodwin
2020-2021 Salary: $1,701,593
2020-2021 Stats: 4.9 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 37.7% FG, 31.1% 3P, 65.1% FT
Kris Dunn’s player option that is almost guaranteed to be exercised throws a wrench in the decision on Goodwin, but I think he’s absolutely worth rostering on a cheap deal. While I had the Hawks selecting Illinois superstar Ayo Dosunmu in my first edition mock draft, that’s obviously not a guarantee. Goodwin had trouble with injuries in 2020-2021 (like a lot of the roster), but I think he’s a solid third point guard to rotate with Mays or Dunn behind Trae Young. I could see the Hawks just rolling with Mays and Dunn, but that’s a big gamble after Dunn only played 11 minutes per game over four games this past season. Mays is still developing as a second-round pick, but he should get plenty of action in the Summer League. I’d say he’s a 50/50 candidate to be brought back.
F John Collins
2020-2021 Salary: $4,137,302
2020-2021 Stats: 17.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 55.6% FG, 39.9% 3P, 83.3% FT
Even before he went off in the playoffs, I didn’t see any way the Hawks could let John Collins walk. Yes, he’s probably going to get close to a max-contract in restricted free agency, but he’s too valuable for the Hawks not to match. Using his Bird Rights, the Hawks should still have a decent amount of money to spend in free agency — especially with Snell and Williams coming off the books. The crazy thing is, it still feels like Collins is an incomplete player sometimes, and he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. Collins is way too efficient, valuable, and has way too much potential to consider not matching any offer sheet he receives. Unless some middling playoff team throws $30+ million per season at him, I think Collins will be back in Atlanta next season.