The Atlanta Hawks currently sit at 11-16 and are barely hanging on to the 10 seed in the Eastern Conference. A team that was 20-47 last year and only one game ahead of the last-place Cleveland Cavaliers is on pace to surpass that 20-win plateau easily. The issue is that is far from the goal.
Head Coach Lloyd Pierce said that it was “playoff time” for the Hawks, which is code for playoffs or bust. To be struggling to hang on to a playoff seed in a bad Eastern Conference is not great. That means that discussions begin about trades. The Hawks took on more than $160 million in contracts this offseason and have plenty of young talent. That equates to a team that should compete for a top six seed in the East.
Atlanta Hawks Trade Rumors
The biggest name that has bounced around for the Hawks is John Collins. There are several reasons for this. First, Collins is a restricted free agent next year, meaning the Hawks can match any offer that Collins receives. Additionally, Collins turned down a four year, $90 million contract from the Hawks this past offseason. Lastly, Collins is fantastic. He is a great leader, but also a perfect stretch four that is young. He is a building block for any team.
Collins reportedly wants a maximum contract of $125 million over four years. Honestly, he has earned that, but the Hawks are in a difficult position where most of their young stars need contract extensions.
So, what does a John Collins trade look like? Well, the Hawks are asking for at least a lottery pick this year. That makes some sense with a very deep draft class. The issue is whether an established player is better than the potential of a lottery pick.
Based on the desire to make the playoffs and Collins’ contract situation it makes it really unlikely that he is moved this year. If he was, a team that was out of the playoffs would be giving up a first and hoping to sign Collins long term. There is a decent chance of that, but most likely one of those teams would rather use the draft pick. Additionally, if the Hawks move Collins, they are giving up their second-best player and punting on the season. With De’Andre Hunter out for ten weeks, losing Collins would be catastrophic to any playoff hopes. Collins remains a Hawk and a deal gets worked out this offseason.
Rajon Rondo signed a two-year, $15 million contract this offseason. He was supposed to be the second playmaker that the Hawks so desperately needed. The result is 14 games played, 15 minutes per game, and a career-low 34.5 percent per game from the field. The Rondo experiment may be coming to an end before it even gets started.
There are several playoff teams that could use Rondo’s services. Anyone knows how crucial he was to the Lakers winning a title last year. Some of the teams that may inquire about his services this season are the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics.
The trade that makes the most sense is with the Clippers. The Clippers are in desperate need of a playmaker to take the pressure off Kawhi Leonard. Rondo fits the bill. While the Clippers don’t have a ton to offer, they could send a young player or a second-round pick. The Clippers are hard-capped so that deal would most likely include a third team. However, teams will certainly be calling and trying to buy low on Rondo. The bigger issue is Rondo’s big contract. Trades may be hard to come by and a buy-out may be the only way for Rondo to leave.
The Hawks definitely like what Brandon Goodwin brings to the table. They have also had some special moments from Skylar Mays in limited minutes. However, Kevin Huerter has excelled as the secondary playmaker this season. Many teams have doubled Trae Young and taken the ball out of his hands. In those situations, Huerter has shined. In fact, he has multiple 10 assist games just this month. After signing Bogdan Bogdanovich, Huerter can increase his minutes as that backup playmaker when Young takes a break.
The only other player that makes sense to move would be Tony Snell. He has also played in 14 games and has had good moments. Again, like Rondo, this move would be a playoff team looking for a certain role. Snell can be a solid three-and-D wing for a team in contention. The Hawks are not necessarily going to be shopping Snell, but other teams may call.
The Hawks have a plethora of wings, including four young wings they are really high on. Snell just takes some of those minutes which may not be a great thing. He is an unrestricted free agent next year and could certainly be involved as a salary dump. If the Hawks want to participate in a three-team deal they could offer up Snell to match salaries.
Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, and Kevin Huerter will not be traded. It is as simple as that. The only situation that any of them get moved is for someone like Bradley Beal. It is not happening. Pierce and the Hawks front office are sky-high on those three young wings and see them as part of their future.
The plan remains the same. The Hawks are dead set on making the playoffs this year. That will happen with Collins and the rest of the young players on the roster.
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