The trade of Kyle Korver to the Cavs seems to be the first of many for the Hawks. Atlanta has already been rumored to be shopping all-star power forward Paul Millsap. It was reported that Millsap would be opting out of the third year of his contract this offseason. Millsap denied the move, stating that the decision was yet to be made, however it would make sense financially for Millsap to opt out and receive a massive pay raise. Thabo Sefalosha and other Hawks could be on the way out the door, with Korver and Millsap as well. The rebuild in Atlanta seems to have officially begun.
It is hard to believe that if the Hawks part ways with Millsap, there will be no starters from the team that won 60 games two seasons ago. The move may come as a surprise to many, as the Hawks are currently fourth in the east, but the Cavs are simply so far ahead of everyone in the conference. Atlanta was not going to beat Cleveland in a seven game series, and they could not see another one of their stars walk with nothing in return.
Atlanta had the opportunity to trade Horford prior to the deadline to ensure they were not left empty handed. When Atlanta opted to sign Howard and not offer Horford the full 5-year max, Horford ditched the Hawks for greener pastures in Boston. At 32, Millsap is looking at his last chance at a huge deal in the NBA. The cap is expected to rise again this offseason, meaning Millsap is likely looking to make even more than Horford is. The Hawks are not a team that is going to attract a bunch of big name free agents, but tying up over 150 million dollars into a player who will be ending his contract in his late 30s would be a mistake. Someone is going to pay Millsap big money, but it is becoming more clear that team is not going to be the Hawks.
Following the news that Korver was on the way out of Atlanta, Ric Bucher added that Paul Millsap will likely be traded before the end of the month.
The Atlanta Hawks are expected to trade Paul Millsap by the end of January. (Via Ric Bucher – Bleacher Report)
— Clevis Murray (@ClevisMurray) January 6, 2017
This move to blow up the Hawks core has been something the organization has pondered for a while. It is not going to be what the fans want to happen, but it is what needs to happen. Atlanta has a young piece in Dennis Schroder to build around. They also have some young talent in Tim Hardaway Jr. and their two first-round picks from last year, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry. By trading Korver and eventually Millsap, the Hawks will have tons of young talent and picks for the future. Atlanta is looking at a full blown rebuild.
While the move to rebuild is one the Hawks should have made, the timing of the decision was late. The Hawks signed Dwight Howard this offseason to continue to compete now. His presence along with the emergence of Dennis Schroder will be enough to keep Atlanta relevant in the East. While it is nice to make the playoffs, it only slows down the rebuild process. The Hawks should have made this move this offseason or even last season, but it seems they have come to the conclusion that it is better late than never.