The Hawks Have Plenty Of Cap Space But That Doesn’t Mean They Have To Use It

Atlanta Hawks Lloyd Pierce (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks Lloyd Pierce (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Hawks are eagerly anticipating the coming Draft Lottery, next week, to find out where they will be picking in the draft. It could be, at worst, the sixth pick and anything higher than that. The Hawks are also in possession of the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round choice, as long as the pick is in the top ten. The Hawks are also in possession of plenty of cap space, 50 million dollars, but are they willing to use any of it?

Atlanta has been a tricky place when it comes to attracting free agents. That doesn’t have anything to do with the city of Atlanta, the city of Atlanta seems to be pretty popular along with New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, but Atlanta doesn’t seem to hold the same cache as those other cities. The team and record of the Atlanta Hawks could be seen as a deterrent, but the same could be said about the Knicks or Lakers. Atlanta at least has a more solid base, Trae Young and John Collins, that the team was lacking in years past, but is that enough?

The Hawks are a team on the rise. Last season, expectations were heightened after the 30 win season, many more wins than Hawks fans thought were possible. Trae Young, with the help of John Collins and Kevin Huerter, has now given the Hawks and their fans hope to see a successful team on the floor in the future. That dream could be expedited by using for of their cap space money to bring in a player to help the Hawks move closer to getting back in the playoffs.

The real question is who would come to Atlanta? I think we go ahead and eliminate Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, and any other top free agent. I hope the Hawks can attract a meeting with some of these players, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up of seeing any of those guys in Hawks uniforms next season. That leaves the next tier of guys, like Al Horford, Jimmy Butler, Brook Lopez, and players who might be looking for a big payday or the freedom to operate of their own team. These players, especially Horford, could come help provide a veteran presence, similar to what Vince Carter did this season, that could help the young Hawks take that next step of their careers. That doesn’t mean any of these players will want to come to Atlanta, but bringing a top player in to help this team with its maturation, could be valuable in the long run.

The Hawks also have the option of doing nothing. Just because the Hawks have the money, that doesn’t mean they have to spend it. Travis Schlenk, the Hawks GM, could be playing the long game, with his eyes on the draft, or might not be enamored by any of these players on the open market, at least not to the degree of paying them millions of dollars for multiple years. Schlenk came to Atlanta with a plan to revitalize this team, and so far it’s worked. And one of the biggest mistakes a GM can make is spending a lot of money on a guy who doesn’t fit the team or its plans.

The Hawks, at the moment, have a good thing going regarding their chemistry. This Hawks team, even when losing over 50 games last season, always looked like they were having fun. This is a young team who is going to take their lumps together but will also enjoy their success, whenever that may come. There will be at least one player, hopefully, two, brought in when the draft comes around. If the Hawks don’t like what they see out there on the free agent market, they should let this process continue to play out. The core of this team, Young, Collins, Huerter, have a chance to make this Hawks team a winner by themselves. Let’s just hope Schlenk make the right decisions to improve this team, not stunt their growth.