Just how active will the Hawks be at the trade deadline?

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Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk made national news yesterday after the brutally honest comments he made regarding his team on 92.9 The Game. Schlenk criticized the Hawks’ pitiful effort on the defensive end, which has been a problem all season up to this point, and then even hinted towards making several moves at the trade deadline. In short, everybody that isn’t Trae Young is not safe; however, just how active will the Hawks be at the trade deadline?

I still find a blockbuster trade to be unlikely, so expect the core of the Hawks to remain in tact. The reason for that being is, first and foremost, I don’t think many superstar players will be switching teams prior to the trade deadline. The most obvious name that could is Ben Simmons, but would Travis Schlenk be seriously interested in bringing that clown show to Atlanta? I’m not so sure about that, even if I wouldn’t totally count it out.

The second reason is, as Schlenk said in his interview yesterday, we’ve seen this Hawks core have success. They finished just a couple of games shy of the NBA Finals last season, and had Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter not been injured, they very well might have been holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy. It’s too early to pull the plug in panic. Remember, this same Hawks team started out last season with a 14-20 record, so technically, they’re improving… I say that in jest.

But I do expect the Hawks to make multiple moves. Finding a new home for Danilo Gallinari would make sense. His scoring is a welcome sight off the bench, but he’s been very inconsistent with his shot this season and his defense has fallen off a cliff. The Hawks likely won’t get anything in return for his services, but in a three-team trade, they could potentially add a piece that better fits their needs.

The situation at backup point guard also needs some patching up. I’m not totally convinced the combination of Delon Wright and Lou Williams can’t get the job done, but so far, it hasn’t worked, and if it doesn’t by the time the trade deadline arrives, expect Schlenk to make a move.

There are also several other smaller trades the Hawks could make to upgrade their perimeter defense. They shouldn’t cost significant assets, and they likely won’t excite Hawks fans when they are announced; however, they will play a critical role in getting the Hawks back to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond.

Despite frustration boiling over from the fan base and even the general manager, I remain incredibly confident this team can still accomplish the goals that they had at the beginning of the season. This has been a weird season, featuring injuries and a litany of COVID related absences. Once the core of this team finds some chemistry and a few tweaks are made, the wins should start coming in bunches. It’s been infuriating, but it’s not yet time for the Hawks to panic.

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