Great response to this month's mailbag. Thanks to everyone that sent in questions.
Who in your opinion is, above all others, the one player the Hawks HAVE to bring back among our free agents?
I do not think there is anyone that the Hawks absolutely have to bring back. Many will point to Mike Scott but in my opinion it is Elton Brand that fills the biggest need. Pero Antic will likely be back and there is the possibility of adding Lucas Nogueira to the front court, but I think the Hawks would be well served to bring back Brand behind Horford and could benefit a lot from having his veteran presence in the locker room.
Just curious what kind of moves the FO are looking at? Could Teague get moved? Will Bebe come over? Will Millsap be moved and Monroe brought on? Are they looking at Deng or will they draft a long and athletic wing such as Anderson or Hood?
The simple answer is Yes. A number of things could happen this offseason but it is impossible for anyone not named Danny Ferry or his inner circle to know for sure what they are looking at. Personally I don't think Teague is going anywhere but I would stop short of declaring any player on the roster as untouchable. From watching Ferry last season I expect him to explore a number of opportunities but in a deliberate manner. They will likely identify who they want in free agency and then move swiftly as they did with both Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll.
As the Ferry/Bud era has a strong emphasis on player development do you see the Hawks adding any Free Agents in 2014? Or do you see them continuing to develop 2012, 2013, and 2014 picks? On the flip-side key veterans are in the final year of their deals- so is there some pressure to take a big step in 2014-15? And thus add some free agents rather than develop young players? What do you think the strategy is?
I expect the Hawks will add at least one player in free agency but that doesn't change the emphasis on player development. One needs look no further than Millsap and Carroll and the way their games evolved in their first season with the Hawks as an example. Atlanta wants to develop not only its young players but every player on its roster.
First I don't think they feel pressure to do anything. Ferry has stated from the outset that he wants to continue to build assets each offseason while remaining competitive. I think they naturally expect improvement and don't intend to be a sub .500 team again but I also don't think they are placing any lofty expectations in year two. If the opportunity presents itself to grab an impact player then they will jump on it and their corresponding moves will reflect that.
With the current contract length for the "core players" remaining vs. players prime ages (Millsap -1 yr, Teague -3 yr, Korver -3 yr, Horford - 2 yr) do you see the Hawks window to contend only a few years with this group of "core players"?
Those players are all a part of the core for now. They might not be if this team elevates itself to contender status. The team has no choice but keep reshuffling the deck as they continue to build assets.
With the first question in mind, do you think the Hawks are one star/all-star level player away from being a true contender? Do you think it is worth trading the future for a chance to "go all in" now (i.e. grab Wiggins/Parker in draft or trade for all-star caliber veteran) with this core group? Or do they continue to be competitive while slowly building for the future with the risk of not taking full advantage of the core guys?
Depends on who the All-Star player is. I don't think either Wiggins or Parker (or any player in this draft) instantly transform a team to a championship contender. If the opportunity presents itself to acquire a top line talent then it has to be explored. However, lets be clear about one thing. The Hawks aren't likely to add a top level talent without saying good bye to some of its core players.
Until the opportunity presents itself to acquire top shelf talent expect them to continue to build for the future.
How would Lucas Nogueira fit if we were to add him to our team?
I'm excited to see what Nogueira looks like in summer league and am intrigued with the possibility of having him in the NBA next season. As far as what he could offer. He still must work on his body and that is his biggest glaring need. I think he would be a strong candidate to see some time in the D-League and would be a situational player at best, at least early on.
What is the consensus of Hawks subject matter experts, on whether Hawks will draft an upside type player with lots of potential but no certainty (see Schroder & Bebe last year, or Kyle Anderson and Zach Levin this year) vs. more known quantity (Early, McDaniels, Hood) types?
I can only speak for myself but I invite our other writers to answer this question in the comments section if they wish. I have no information as to what the Hawks are looking for in the draft this year but I do think that they would be best served to draft a player that can stick with the club right away. I don't necessarily buy into the upside vs being ready argument. I don't how ready any of these guys are although some are closer to contributing than others.
Dennis Schröder began last season as the backup point guard and I am sure the Hawks would have been happy to have had him remain in that job all season long had he been able to hang onto the job. From a personal standpoint I think the most glaring need is on the wing and I think those prospects have an edge in Atlanta's selection process this summer.
Should the Hawks make a trade for Kevin Love?
In many ways I was expecting a mailbag full of Kevin Love questions but that talk seemingly has cooled somewhat. If Love is truly made available by the Timberwolves that is exactly the type of deal that we have been talking about the Hawks building assets for. Now its debatable whether or not Atlanta has enough to complete such a move and still better themselves in the long run.
I'm not expecting to hear Atlanta involved with Love because it would likely take them sending Al Horford in return. Love is a Top 10 talent in the league and is worth making the case but I don't see how potentially switching places with Horford improves his situation a whole lot. If a deal could be made centered around Paul Millsap then that would be a better situation for Atlanta but I'm sure that Minnesota would receive a lot of offers that may be more attractive.