The Hawks are at a bit of a crossroads. Their roster needs re-tooling, but they could still potentially compete in the Eastern Conference under Quin Snyder with the right pieces around Trae Young. With a so-so free agency class, there are a few names that I have on my radar in terms of trade targets. Atlanta has a couple of tradeable pieces on the roster, and they still have a few picks leftover from the Dejounte Murray trade. If they decide to go big-game hunting, who could be on their radar? Unsurprisingly, I’ll be focusing on three wings today who can defend and score, easily the biggest need for Atlanta.
F Mikal Bridges — Brooklyn Nets
The Nets kicked off their rebuild by shipping off Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and in return, they got Mikal Bridges from the Suns. Bridges is one of the most consistent players in the NBA, not missing a game in his entire NBA career. In their short playoff run, Bridges was fantastic, averaging over 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists on 43/40/78 shooting splits. Not only that, but Bridges is a quality on ball defender that can take the pressure off of Atlanta’s perimeter defense. The Hawks may have to give up a lot to get Bridges, and the Nets may not even want to part ways with him, but if there’s anyone on this list I’m banging the table for — it’s him.
G/F Paul George — Los Angeles Clippers
While he’s the most decorated name on this list, George probably presents the most risk. However, he could be the easiest to acquire. The trade with the Oklahoma City to get George has blown up in Los Angeles’ face, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has blossomed into a star, and the Thunder still hold a ton of their picks. George and co-star Kawhi Leonard have both battled injuries, and both guys can opt out after the 2023-2024 season. There’s a ton of risk here, but when Paul George is playing, he’s still one of the better players in the NBA. Over 56 games, George averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists with a 58.8 true shooting percentage. I don’t know if the juice will be worth the squeeze with the money and risk associated, but George is a perfect fit for Atlanta if he can stay healthy.
G/F Jaylen Brown — Boston Celtics
I originally wasn’t going to put Jaylen Brown on this list, but after the Eastern Conference Finals, I’m not sure how things are going to end up in Boston. Brown had some rough stretches in the playoffs and fans have soured on him, but at the end of the day, he’s still an All-NBA level player with ties to Atlanta. He was always sporting Braves or Falcons gear in press conferences when they played the Hawks, and it’s clear he has love for the city. He does have some warts, but people forget how well he played in the 2022 NBA Finals compared to the 2023 Playoffs. I don’t think the Celtics will move Brown, but right now, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say Boston doesn’t want to give him a Supermax. If the Hawks can add Brown and pair him with Trae Young, I think he’s worth giving up the assets for.
Photographer: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire