NBA insider is extremely bearish on the Atlanta Hawks

NBA: APR 17 Play In East Hawks at Bulls

The Hawks certainly aren’t the model franchise of the NBA, especially since making the Eastern Conference Finals a few years ago.

Against Travis Schlenk’s wishes, ownership pushed the Dejounte Murray deal through, costing the Hawks several first round picks. Ownership was also reportedly directly responsible for the Kevin Huerter trade as a way to avoid the luxury tax.

It’s not all ownership, though. The Hawks just traded away a first-round pick in AJ Griffin, who flirted with 50/40/90 shooting splits before disappearing from the rotation. The club also held onto John Collins too long and ended up having to salary dump him.

It’s been bad move after bad move, but there’s reason to be optimistic if you’re a Hawks fan.

First, we have Trae Young, a true superstar who’s proven capable of leading a team on a deep playoff run. Secondly, Jalen Johnson has legitimate All-Star potential and will see an uptick in usage with Murray out of the equation. Thirdly, Quin Snyder is one of the better coaches in this league.

There’s a lot more that needs to come to fruition before the entire NBA world is bullish on the Hawks, namely Zaccharie Risacher, Dyson Daniels, and other ancillary pieces stepping up, but there’s no reason to be as bearish on the franchise’s future as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

14. The Atlanta Hawks might be screwed.

What Atlanta got back for point guard Dejounte Murray is fair: firsts in 2025 and 2027, plus Larry Nance Jr., Dyson Daniels, and E.J. Liddell. But it doesn’t come close to the three valuable firsts and one swap the Hawks originally gave up to get Murray from San Antonio. The Hawks’ current roster will barely compete for the playoffs in the East, and they don’t own the rights to any of their firsts until 2028. If the Spurs called today offering those picks back for Trae Young, the Hawks would happily say yes. But San Antonio is holding them hostage, opting to sign CP3 as a placeholder rather than make a trade for a point guard like Trae. As good as Young is, San Antonio would benefit a lot more from being patient. The Hawks have looked nothing but incompetent in recent years. They’d better hope that Zaccharie Risacher works out, or it’ll get ugly fast.

If you’re a Hawks fan, you know O’Connor has a reputation for holding a grudge against Trae Young and Atlanta. Some of the things he says are fair, and fans can’t take off their rose-colored glasses, but there’s no reason to be this pessimistic about the Hawks.

The club certainly has been dysfunctional in recent years, and they’ll never be able to overcome bad ownership; however, there’s no reason to continue to doubt Trae Young, Landry Fields has impressed thus far, and discounting young pieces like Risacher and Jalen Johnson is disingenuous.

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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