Where do the Hawks turn their offseason focus now? NBA exec weighs in

NBA: JAN 06 Hawks at Lakers

The Hawks have toppled their two biggest dominos this offseason, the No. 1 overall pick and trading one of their All-Star point guards.

Landry Fields seemingly wasn’t swayed by the drama surrounding Alex Sarr and went with the top prospect in their assessment — Zaccharie Risacher. Shortly after, the Hawks struck a deal with the Pelicans, sending Dejounte Murray to New Orleans in exchange for a pair of first-round picks and three players.

The Hawks must now turn their attention to fine tuning the roster, which includes listening to offers on Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter, who are rumored to be on the trade block, but there’s a looming contract extension that might trump all other to-do’s for Landry Fields.

Following the draft and blockbuster trade, former NBA executive Bobby Marks declared the Hawks attention should now turn to Jalen Johnson‘s rookie contract extension.

The Hawks are clearly building around Trae Young, but Jalen Johnson is the most important piece to this club getting back into postseason contention.

The former first-round pick improved his scoring average from 5.6 points to 16.1 points last season, but his improved efficiency from beyond three-point range was even more impressive, 28.8% to 35.5% this past season.

Jalen Johnson is coming off a career campaign in which he averaged over 16 points per game on 51% shooting from the field and 35% from three, with 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 33 minutes per game.

His ability to impact the game in so many ways — rebounding, facilitating, scoring, transition, defending, etc. — makes him incredibly versatile, but if he can continue to improve shooting, especially from deep, Johnson becomes that much more versatile and a real weapon next to Trae Young for Quin Snyder.

As far as the contract, your guess is as good as mine, but there’s no shot he signs for less than $25 million per season. If he does, he should fire his agent. I would guess negotiations start at $100 million over four years; however, if I were the Hawks, I would give him five years because it’s going to be a bargain in a couple of years.

So, if we stick around $25-30 million per year and it’s five years, Jalen Johnson’s contract extension is going to be between $125-150 million, but that’s going to be a steal if the former 20th pick continues to trend upwards.

Photographer: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire

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