While the Atlanta Hawks certainly have a capable enough of a team for another deep playoff run, which current starter will most likely end up being traded?
The Atlanta Hawks entered the NBA All-Star Break with a 31-24 record, good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference Standings and first place in the Southeast Division.
Despite the club being one of the better teams in the East, will general manager Wes Wilcox end up shipping one of his starters to another team before the NBA trade deadline next Thursday? Which starter is most likely going to play for somebody else in the second half?
Hopefully none of the members on the Atlanta Hawks’ starting five will have to suit up for any of the other 29 teams in the NBA for the rest of the 2015-16 NBA season. This starting five, minus small forward Kent Bazemore, helped lead the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals a year before, the first time in franchise history.
Going through the Atlanta Hawks’ starting five, the least likely of the quintet to play for somebody else in the second half is power forward Paul Millsap. Sure, the Atlanta Hawks could potentially sell high on the most underrated power forward in the game today, but he does carry a near maximum contract for the next two and a half years.
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The only team that seems to have interest in a trade for Paul Millsap is the Brooklyn Nets who have almost no assets to send Atlanta’s way. Paul Millsap is a Hawk for the next few seasons and hopefully remains All-Star caliber in the meantime.
The next least likely player for the Atlanta Hawks to part ways with from the starting lineup is Kent Bazemore. While the Hawks could conceivably move Thabo Sefolosha up to the starting lineup if they part ways with Bazemore, Bazemore is a free agent at the end of the year and will certainly command more money that he currently makes in Atlanta.
While the Atlanta Hawks don’t have Bird Rights on being able to give Kent Bazemore more money and that extra year in this summer’s contract negotiations, Bazemore has played his best basketball in Atlanta and has become an all-around strong player in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s player development system. Bazemore would command more interest in free agency than he will at the trade deadline anyway. He’s in Atlanta through the 2015-16 NBA season.
Shooting guard Kyle Korver could end up being traded before the 2016 NBA trade deadline on Thursday if given the right situation. Korver would certainly help another team in three-point shooting and perimeter defense, but what could the Atlanta Hawks get in return for the elder statesman of their basketball club?
The only team with real interest in Korver is the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the Cavaliers do have assets that the Atlanta Hawks may find intriguing, it would stand as a very difficult proposition to replace what Korver does in terms of offensive spacing for the Hawks. He’ll almost certainly stay in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.
Potentially Al Horford could end up playing for somebody else come February 18th.While he will enter free agency this summer commanding a maximum salary, Horford is a catalyst that could make another good team great if the Atlanta Hawks are willing to trade him.
While the Atlanta Hawks would prefer to keep their longest tenured member in Atlanta for the foreseeable future, there are no guarantees that Horford will re-sign with the Atlanta Hawks next summer. Perhaps the Atlanta Hawks’ organization is siding with precaution to hopefully get something for Horford if he walks.
Teams like the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons have serious interest in Horford. Atlanta would certainly command something ridiculous in return should they part ways with Al Horford in the week. My guess is that he stays with the Hawks through the season and more likely than not re-signs with the Atlanta Hawks this summer. However, the though of him going home to Detroit or playing for his college coach Billy Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder are two scary thoughts.
If the Atlanta Hawks are going to make a trade with any five of their starters, point guard Jeff Teague will end up being the guy that will be playing for somebody else in the second half of the 2015-16 NBA season.
Teague’s name has had ties to the Boston Celtics, the Orlando Magic, the Indiana Pacers, and the New York Knicks to name a few teams. General managers love the poise and explosiveness Teague plays with. Since he has one more year on his current contract, Teague could end up playing for a new team for the entire 2016-17 NBA campaign.
With the Atlanta Hawks already having a suitable replacement at point guard in his backup Dennis Schroder, the Atlanta Hawks may end up trading Teague by this time next week. I’d love for Jeff Teague to stay in Atlanta, but I do worry that he will end up being one of the biggest names being moved prior to the NBA’s trade deadline Thursday afternoon. It almost feels like it’s more likely that Teague will be elsewhere than in Atlanta by this time next week. Expect the Atlanta front office to continue to entertain offers until 3:00 PM ET Thursday with any of their five starters.