Most Hawks fans in the right frame of mind would give Travis Schlenk an A+ job for what he’s done this offseason. In the draft, it looks like he got two steals in Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper — at least that’s what many draft analysts believe, as several people had both players going well within the top 20. And in free agency, Schlenk brought back John Collins on a more than reasonable five-year, $125 million contract, locked up Trae Young through the 2027 season, and then rounded out the roster with several key additions like Delon Wright and Gorgui Dieng. On paper, this team is well-positioned to make another deep run in the playoffs, but they may be in an even better position to land the next disgruntled superstar that becomes available.
While the Hawks are currently over the soft cap, they don’t have a single contract that isn’t moveable in a trade. Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela, and Bogdan Bogdanovic could all easily be moved to create room for another star. Trading any of those three would save the Hawks around $20 million annually for the duration of their respective contracts, which would create the room necessary to add another All-Star to pair with Trae Young. However, in order to acquire a superstar, you have to have more than just moveable contracts to make the money work; you must have assets that other teams are interested in, and nobody has more young assets than the Hawks.
Travis Schlenk probably isn’t looking to move Collins after just signing him to a five-year deal, but he definitely has value as an ascending talent at just 23-years-old on a reasonable contract. De’Andre Hunter looks well on his way to becoming an All-Star in his own right. Every Twitter GM in America is trying to get their hands on Cam Reddish. Kevin Huerter proved to be a force to be reckoned with, and he’s also just 23-years-old. Onyeka Okongwu flashed a lot of talent as a rookie; he was also the sixth overall pick just last year. And finally, as I mentioned in the open, Schlenk took two highly-touted players in this year’s draft — Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper — that could build up some value very quickly.
Travis Schlenk has put this thing together about as perfectly as a general manager possibly could. The Hawks are coming off an Eastern Conference Finals berth way earlier than expected, and they have all the pieces to make a run at the finals this time around, but they also don’t have any bad contracts bogging them down. Everybody on the Hawks could be moved rather easily, and they have a bevy of young assets teams will be interested in when looking to trade a star player. Right now, all the All-Stars in the league seem satisfied, but this is the NBA, which is an ongoing soap opera. It’s only a matter of time before some star player gets disgruntled and demands a trade. When that happens, the Hawks just might swoop in and take advantage.