Everyone inside the Hawks organization and the fans were disappointed with the outcome of this season. After reaching the Eastern Conference finals a year ago, expectations were sky-high as Travis Schlenk opted to run it back with essentially the same squad.
The Hawks started off slow and didn’t really hit their stride until after the All-Star break, but it was too little too late. They didn’t have enough time to make it out of the play-in, but they were able to beat the inexperienced Hornets and Cavaliers on their way to a second-straight playoff berth. Unfortunately, Miami showed the world exactly how to beat Atlanta.
Trae Young was smothered for 48 minutes every single game, and the Hawks just didn’t have a consistent second option to relieve that pressure. The Heat showed the Association the blueprint for stopping Young, but it revealed more to Travis Schlenk and Atlanta’s front office.
“We made the decision last year to run the same group back and we probably should have tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” says Hawks GM Travis Schlenk. “The way the season ended we’re going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”
As Chase wrote, the team is actually in a great position to make a move for another All-Star to pair with Young as well as add the defensive pedigree needed to cover up the point guard’s biggest weakness.
There’s not a single contract that is immovable. John Collins, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Onyeka Okongwu are all younger players that teams around the league would have interest in. Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic are a little older than that group, but again, they could be easily moved for picks or players. Danilo Gallinari could be kept, traded, or bought-out this summer. Only $5 million of his contract is guaranteed for 2022-2023. And the rest of the Hawks’ roster either has a very small cap number or is set to become a free agent. So while this past season was nothing short of a disaster, Atlanta remains in a very advantageous position when looking toward the future, which is why chaos can be expected this summer.
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