With the NBA Draft in the books, the Atlanta Hawks will turn their attention to free agency and filling out their roster for the 2014-15 season. Before we dive to deep into what players will be available when the free agency period opens next week, a closer look at Atlanta's roster is order.
The Hawks currently have 10 players on the roster that have at least partially guaranteed contracts for next season. Here is a breakdown by position:
|PG||Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder|
|SG||Kyle Korver, Lou Williams, John Jenkins|
|C||Al Horford, Pero Antic, Mike Muscala|
Atlanta spent the No. 15 pick in the 2014 Draft on Michigan State power forward Adreian Payne who is a virtual lock for next season's roster. That brings the total number to 11 players.
The Hawks are also expected to issue qualifying offers to Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack which will make them restricted free agents and give Atlanta the right of first refusal should another team sign them to an offer sheet. A quick glance at the team's back situation shows a pretty crowded picture. Mack has shown the ability to play both spots but with a healthy Lou Williams already on the roster along with John Jenkins it wouldn't be terribly shocking to see him elsewhere next season.
Scott's situation isn't quite as crowded yet but it could get that way. His breakout season could also warrant an offer from another team that the Hawks may be unwilling to match especially with Payne on the roster.
2013 first-round pick Lucas Nogueira spent last season in Spain but is eyeing being in the NBA this season. He is already in Atlanta working out and will be a part of Atlanta's entry in the Las Vegas Summer League next month. If the Hawks keep Nogueira then that will bring the roster number to 12.
Atlanta spent second-round picks on 7'3" center Walter Tavares and small forward Lamar Patterson Thursday night. Tavares is very likely to return to Spain next season to continue his development. Given Atlanta's current situation at small forward, Patterson will likely be given a chance to compete for a roster spot however at this point its difficult to see how good a chance he might have of sticking around.
Both Elton Brand and Cartier Martin are unrestricted free agents this summer. Brand figures to garner interest from teams around the league including the Hawks.
In summary, the Hawks currently have 11 players that are slated to be on the roster for next season counting Payne although they have options with Pero Antic (unlikely) along with Mike Muscala. Factor in Mack, Scott or even Brand and roster space starts to get tight. If the Hawks don't elect to keep Nogueira then he will return to Europe for another year of development.
While roster space could get a bit tight, the Hawks have flexibility and can go a number of different directions depending on who they target in free agency.