Hawks have open canvas for offseason moves

Courtesy of soaringdownsouth.com

As the NBA concludes, and the offseason begins, rumors and headlines across the country begin to focus on what each team will look like for the upcoming season. In Atlanta, this will be drastically different than in previous years. With only three players on the roster owning guaranteed contracts, Danny Ferry will be hard at work finding the best pieces available to take the floor at the start of the next season.



Al Horford, Lou Williams and second-year man John Jenkins are the only players set for next season’s roster. It is expected that fellow second-year forward Mike Scott will be retained since he is still on his rookie deal but if he does not impress the new staff in training camp, he could be traded or released. This leaves the majority of the roster open for free agents and draft picks.

Jeff Teague is a restricted free agent, meaning the Hawks can bring him back at will if the price is right and this will be one of the options they explore if the man they want is unattainable. That man is Chris Paul, the eight-year pro out of Wake Forest. He spent the last two seasons in Los Angeles donning the Clippers’ uniform and putting up all-star numbers. He is a free agent this offseason and the Atlanta Hawks are the only team that can offer the max deal to two players in free agency. This could entice Paul to leave the west coast if he were able to team up with another superstar.

That superstar could be Dwight Howard, who would also be leaving Los Angeles for the city of Atlanta if this dream pairing occurred. Pairing a top center and top point guard with Al Horford as a complementary piece would catapult the Hawks to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with Miami. This would also create yet another big three, and this one would reside in a mid-major market for the NBA.

With two max players under contract, filling out the roster would be tricky, but productive veterans could be enticed to challenge the Heat for the top roster in the Association. Kyle Korver could be talked into coming back to provide an outside shot, spreading the floor for the big men to work in the paint, and open up space for Chris Paul to run a pick-and-roll style offense.

The sixth man would already be on the roster in Lou Williams and then the only main piece missing would be small forward. That position could be addressed in the draft depending on the available players at picks 17 and 18.



However, there is a new coach in town and he could want to go about building a team in a slightly different manner, to fit his offense and style of play. Coming from San Antonio, it can be assumed that head coach Mike Budenholzer would utilize Al Horford that same was as he did Tim Duncan during their time together. He could also decide that he wants to retain Jeff Teague and develop an offense around his particular skill set.

This will be one of the most important offseasons in Atlanta Hawks history. The decisions made this year could determine the success of the franchise for the next decade.

In the upcoming NBA draft there are two local talents that have greatly improved their draft stock the past few months. The first is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the University of Georgia. Most scouts like his size and scoring ability, but it is his surprising athleticism that has caught their eye. With a 6-foot-8 wingspan, Caldwell-Pope will be able to disrupt wing players as they try to drive and get their shots off.

The other is Glen Rice Jr, who is entering the draft from the D-League by way of Georgia Tech. After playing his prep ball at Walton High School in Marietta, Rice developed himself into a nice play for the Yellow Jackets before being dismissed this past season. In the D-League he proved himself to be an above average defender and a scoring threat when given the chance.


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