The Atlanta Hawks have been so happy with the development of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and John Collins that they want to pursue making this team better right away. That means they want to go after the biggest free agents on the market, including Kevin Durant.
So that got me thinking about how Durant would fit on this Atlanta Hawks team? And would it work? The Hawks going for Kevin Durant sounds silly. Atlanta is not a destination for the best of the best free agents. They want to be on the east or west coast. That’s at least the narrative.
But my question is why isn’t Atlanta a destination? Atlanta is one of the most popular cities among NBA players. Just ask Jalen Rose. And Atlanta has, arguably, the best basketball situation in the entire NBA right now. The core of Young, Collins, and Huerter with two more high draft picks coming looks like an oasis compared to some of the other situations out there.
The Knicks have been the forgone landing spot for Kevin Durant since the season has started. Durant moved his business headquarters to New York City after having in the Bay Area the last few seasons. The chatter is getting heavy, but why would he want to go to New York? The Knicks are in shambles. They just traded their best player/superstar to get off bad contracts. The team’s best player is Dennis Smith Jr., who was just shipped out because he wanted his own team.
Well, it won’t be his team if Durant comes. And the Knicks are banking on Zion coming to New York. Unless the Knicks have the fix in already, New York most likely won’t be landing the #1 pick in the draft. New York is a mess. I don’t think Durant can even save them.
The Los Angeles Lakers have also been mentioned as a landing spot for Durant. The Lakers are even worse off than the Knicks. LeBron went to LA and completely blew up everything that the Lakers were building with their young assets. The Lakers are going to miss the playoffs this season, and unless they can get Davis, Durant, or another big name free agent, they’ll be in the same situation next year. LeBron will just be one year older.
The Lakers and Knicks aren’t functional organizations, at least they haven’t been one in many years. Durant would be wasting some of his prime years in situations that a player of his skill may not even be able to help at this point. Those two teams need a lot more help than Durant can provide.
The Hawks, unlike the Knicks and Lakers, are a team that is trending in the right direction. Yes, the Hawks will be in the lottery this season, but that doesn’t mean they have to be next season. If Durant comes to Atlanta, he will be the undisputed leader of this team and city.
Atlanta would worship the ground Durant walked on if he donned a Hawks jersey. Trae Young and John Collins are still young and developing enough to not take any shots away from Durant. And Durant wants to be the leader of his OWN team. This is why he is looking to exit, maybe the greatest NBA team ever, the Warriors after they win their 3rd straight title this season. Durant would have everything he wants in Atlanta. There isn’t a better situation in the entire NBA for him to walk into. If Durant comes to the Hawks, Atlanta is an eastern conference contender right away.
Listen, it’s unlikely, but can’t we dream? Travis Schlenk and everyone running the Hawks feel like they have something really special going on with this team. The Hawks, for the first time in a lot of years, feels like they’re building up to something tangible. I don’t even think the 60 win team of 2015 was this exciting.
This team is led by Trae Young is going to be special one day. Why not next season? If Durant comes here, that will be the case. This Hawks team feels like they’re one piece away from competing with the Bucks, Celtics, and Raptors of the East. It’s a long shot, and most likely won’t happen, but just getting in the room with players like Durant or Kawhi Leonard is good for Atlanta. Maybe the Hawks will actually land one of these guys soon. It feels different with these Atlanta Hawks. Durant coming to Atlanta would change everything.