Writing this before the team’s 18th game against the Kings, the Hawks are only 17 games into the season and are already embroiled in trade rumors. After a disappointing end to last season, personnel changes were coming. And the club acted in a big way, acquiring All-Star Dejounte Murray in a blockbuster trade. However, a salary dump shipped Kevin Huerter to Sacramento in exchange for Justin Holiday and a pick. And ownership is to blame.
Tony Ressler said this about going into the luxury tax this offseason, “If the question is are we scared of the tax, are we scared of going into the tax? I’m scared of paying the tax and not being a good team, yes, that I’m scared of, but if we have to go into the tax to be a great team for a period of time, so be it.”
Clearly, he didn’t see the team before the trade as a championship contender. And now, it’s clear. As it’s currently constructed, this team won’t do anything worthwhile in the postseason. To make matters even worse, reports and rumors are FLOODING in about the Hawks selling more pieces, according to a HoopsHype report.
“Rival NBA executives believe Atlanta will likely have to part with either forward John Collins, swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, or center Clint Capela to avoid looming luxury tax concerns next season,” Michael Scotto said.
That is a gut punch for Hawks fans who expected Tony Ressler and the ownership group put their money where their mouths were and pay some luxury tax penalties. Everything the team has done contradicts Ressler’s own words of not being afraid of the luxury tax. It’s frustrating, and now the Hawks have been mentioned in a slew of rumors as other teams smell blood in the water.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo! had a bevy of tidbits pertaining to the Hawks in his latest piece. I’ll share some of his quotes after summarizing. The Jazz have ‘real’ interest in John Collins. Atlanta offered Collins for Lauri Markkanen but gained no traction. Prior to the Huerter trade, there was ‘true momentum’ on a Collins to Kings deal. The Hawks have an interest in Jae Crowder, but the Suns have no interest in taking on Collins’ contract. Fischer also pointed out Justin Holiday as a potential trade candidate, given A.J. Griffin’s emergence.
- “The Jazz’s interest in Hawks forward John Collins is real, league sources said, and would seem to indicate Utah is considering how to add to this winning unit rather than subtract from it.”
- “There was true momentum in a deal with Sacramento during this summer’s draft window, sources said, but the Kings walked away with Kevin Heurter and seem quite happy lighting the beam with this current iteration at Golden 1 Center.”
- “While Atlanta remains one of the teams in the mix for Phoenix swingman Jae Crowder, league sources said the Suns have shown no desire to shoulder the remaining four seasons of the five-year, $125 million deal Collins signed after the Hawks’ run to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.”
- “Elsewhere in Atlanta, keep an eye on Justin Holiday this trade season, as rookie forward A.J. Griffin continues to make strides in Nate McMillan’s rotation, despite Holiday’s close connection with the head coach from their shared days in Indiana.”
There have also been reports of the Suns’ interest in Bogdan Bogdanovic. There are also murmurs of the Clippers showing interest in Clint Capela. Moreover, the reports of trade talks surrounding JC seem to hold water. Shams Charania of The Athletic said the Hawks had opened up preliminary trade discussions around the forward.
Hopefully, these are just rumors, because the Hawks are far too early into the acclimation process of a new roster to be blowing it up. The team is only three games behind the Celtics, who are in first in the Eastern Conference. The East isn’t great this year; the Hawks have time to figure things out. But all these Hawks trade rumors flooding social media point to some movement.
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