Yesterday, I put the Hawks in separate tiers based on the likelihood of them being traded. Today, I’ll look at it from the opposite perspective, finding names around the league that could pique the interest of Travis Schlenk before March 25th’s trade deadline. There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the Hawks potentially being sellers, but following six straight wins and the recent news that De’Andre Hunter could return to the starting lineup later this week, it seems much more likely that they would be buyers in an attempt to make a playoff push.
The Hawks have already fleeced the Rockets once, as they acquired Clint Capela for a late first-round selection last season. I have said on multiple occasions that trade signaled the end of the Rockets championship window. Houston fully committed to small-ball with Mike D’Antoni’s three-ball philosophy, and it failed miserably. Before the blink of an eye, Westbrook was in Washington, and Harden was in Brooklyn, as the Rockets were staring down the barrel of a complete rebuild.
P.J. Tucker is one of the last building blocks of those tremendous Houston teams remaining on the roster. He will be traded before the deadline, and the Hawks — like the rest of the league — should be interested. Atlanta still could improve defensively, and Tucker is one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA. On top of that, his playoff experience would be invaluable to a young Hawks team.
Oladipo is having one of the most inefficient seasons of his career, and there are concerns about whether he will ever return to the level of play that made him an All-Star just two seasons ago. However, he’s still a good scorer that is above-average on defense. With him playing on an expiring contract, Oladipo will not cost too much, and it almost seems like the Rockets don’t have any other choice but to move him. It’s a bit risky, but it could pay off if he can find his rhythm again on the offensive end. Oladipo could be unmotivated in his current situation; a new team in playoff contention could reignite that fire.
Redick is 36-years-old, and just like Oladipo, he is amid one of the worst statistical years of his career. It’s almost guaranteed that he is playing somewhere else sooner rather than later. The only question is will someone offer the Pelicans anything, or will they buy him out. If the Hawks want to add another shooter to their roster, as well as a veteran presence, they should be able to pry Redick away for pennies.
Michael Porter Jr.
For several reasons, Michael Porter could be the best target on this list. He’s 6’10” with handles like a guard, and his potential is through the roof. In just his second NBA season at 22-years-old, Porter is averaging 15.3 points per game on nearly 52% from the field and 42% from behind the arc while also grabbing over seven rebounds per game. If that’s not enough to excite Schlenk, he also grew up playing with Trae Young, and the two are extremely tight. However, with all that talent comes a high asking price. If the Nuggets are even interested in moving him, they would probably want John Collins plus some in return. Still, that could be worth it if the Hawks are seriously not committed to re-signing Collins.
Another player with ties to Trae Young is Buddy Hield, and the Kings could be looking to move him before the trade deadline. However, they may choose to hold onto him, given he’s not having a very good season and his cap hit continues to shrink until he is an unrestricted free-agent in 2024. The Hawks could put together an extremely enticing offer if they wanted to; I’m just not sure it would help them very much in the win column and could handcuff them in free agency for years to come.
Ball is a player the Hawks could be interested in because he’s a good compliment to what Young offers. Despite Ball’s ugly jump shot, he’s made his threes at a 38.3% clip this season and has been even better as of late in that area. Ball is also a terrific playmaker that could allow Young to play some off-ball, but the most intriguing attribute is his defense. Young is a complete liability on defense and Ball is spectacular. The Pelicans will be looking for some capital in return, and the Hawks would have to be interested in re-signing him after this season, but the fit makes some sense.
The Magic are one of the most easily forgettable teams in The Association, which is why Fournier is among the most underrated players in the league. He’s been a lock for 15+ points a game on solid shooting percentages for virtually his entire career while also being a sneaky-good playmaker. The Hawks’ biggest obstacle in a potential deal for Fournier is likely his contract, which expires after this season, and their willingness to re-sign him or not.
The Hawks don’t really have a starting shooting guard, but adding Powell would change that instantly. He is having the best year of his career, averaging 19.0 points per game and shooting nearly 50% from the field and over 41% from the three-point line — driving the trade price up. However, he’s on the last year of his contract, and the Hawks may not be interested in handing him the lucrative contract he’s earned at the end of this season. The Raptors could also be hell-bent on competing this year despite their recent skid.
Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire