Just when things got very, very quiet surrounding the Hawks in free agency, the silence ended in a hurry with the return of Kyle Korver.
Late on Wednesday evening, Marc Stein reported via Twitter that Korver had inked a 4-year, $24 million contract with the Hawks, and after several confirmations (including the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore), it appears that the reported deal has taken place. Korver had been previously linked to Brooklyn, including the now-famous quote saying that Korver was “in the bag” to the Nets, and Milwaukee had presented a 3-year, $20 million offer earlier in the week. However, the allure of staying at home combining with an extra/4th year of guaranteed money led to Korver’s return.
Not everyone loves the move for Atlanta, as SB Nation’s Mike Prada cut down the deal, but personally, I’m a fan of the move. Korver was tremendous in a Hawks uniform last season, shooting 46% from three-point land while playing over 30 minutes a game, and he’s the perfect role player in today’s NBA. Korver is certainly a semi-limited player, as he is a “specialist” of the highest degree, but his defensive accumen is underrated in my opinion, and he succeeds as a team defender while effectively working off of screens to create his own offense. Throw in the fact that he rebounds reasonably well at 6’7 (4.0 rebounds per game last season) and Korver isn’t a liability anywhere on the floor.
The specifics of the deal can (and will) be debated, but in fairness, this isn’t a bargain for the Hawks. Paying $6 million a year for Korver isn’t outrageous by any stretch, but he’ll be in his age 35/36 season in year #4, and it is hard to see that he would be worth this sticker price by that point in his career. Korver is coming off of a 3-year, $15 million deal that he likely outperformed (certainly last year), and if he produces at the same level that he did in 2012-2013, the money is just fine.
There is an additional wrinkle to the move, however, as the aforementioned Mike Prada pointed out that each NBA team will be required to reach a salary “floor” this season, and the number is 90% of the salary cap. With the Hawks currently employing only Al Horford and Lou Williams on decent-sized contracts, the organization will need to spend some money somewhere this offseason, and if the team strikes out in high-level free agency, the Korver deal helps.
It remains to be seen whether the team is in full rebuilding mode (another argument for another day), but another positive to this deal is that it could be easily moved if the Hawks chose to do so down the road. Either way, I believe that this move puts the rumors of “tanking” to bed, and that’s a wonderful thing. The now-famous $30 million in cap space is now a figment of our imagination, but the team still has plenty of money to spend if they choose to (and/or if Dwight Howard miraculously obliges), and it is an unquestionably positive thing to see one of the best shooters in the world on the wing for Atlanta.