Another great response to our mailbag this month so thank you to everyone who sent in questions. Let's get right to it!
Do you think that as complied currently, the Hawks are content at/with we have at the 2 and 3? Do you see us signing an inexpensive plug and play or just rolling with it? Finally, with 6-8 mil approx left in cap space, what could they be saving this for if saving it at all?
I think the Hawks went into the offseason with the goals of adding to their wing depth and getting bigger in their backcourt. The signings of Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha accomplish both. I think a lot of people expected Atlanta to replace either Kyle Korver or DeMarre Carroll in the starting lineup but I'm not sure how much of a priority that was for the team heading into the offseason. If they could have landed Luol Deng on a contract that fit their terms then sure but I don't think they went into the offseason feeling like they had to sign a starter. So to answer your question, yes I think they are very content with what they have. The only real question left involves Shelvin Mack. If he were to go elsewhere then another point guard could be brought in.
The Hawks currently have cap space but they still have to address restricted free agents Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack which could cut into that total. Also they could opt to add another center to the roster (Elton Brand?) which would further cut into that total.
Still they are likely to have some room and I expect them to carry that into the regular season. Its added flexibility that could help facilitate a trade down the road somewhere. Thus far Ferry has opted to remain flexible and not overpay for anyone. I don't expect them to reverse course just because they have cap space available.
Who has the most to gain/lose heading into training camp?
Great question coming off of summer league and it will be interesting to see who the Hawks bring to camp. There are a couple of obvious answers in my opinion. One is Mike Muscala who was solid in Vegas and could push for playing time in training camp. Currently the Hawks have three centers on the roster in Muscala, Al Horford and Pero Antic. I expect another big body to be added but that might not be as pressing a need if Muscala shows that he is ready.
John Jenkins is at the other end of the spectrum as he is apparently still hampered by a bad back. I don't know if his roster spot is in jeopardy just yet but his future is contingent on him getting healthy and getting back on track.
Other names that come to mind are Dennis Schröder and Adreian Payne.
When do you expect teams to present offers to Mack and Scott, if at all?
I suspect that both Mack and Scott have an offer on the table from the Hawks and are currently trying to beat it on the open market.
Since most people don't consider Al Horford as a "superstar" and many people think the Hawks need to tank in order to get (another) high lottery pick - as most people believe high lottery players are the most likely to develop into superstars - why wouldn't you approve of a trade that would involve sending Al Horford away for newly drafted high lottery players or draft picks that would most likely be in the lottery?
I think a lot of people forget that Al Horford was once a very high lottery pick himself. While he shouldn't be classified as a "superstar" I think the definition of that term gets thrown about way too much. Andrew Wiggins may go on to become a superstar but its not certain. The biggest superstar in the game, LeBron James, has shown that he can't win a championship by himself. I know what the Hawks have in Al Horford which is a very good player when he is healthy. That isn't a move you make if you are trying to remain competitive while retooling which is the current strategy.
Do you see Paul Millsap being back with the team after his contract is up and what price do you think will be needed to keep him?
It will be interesting to see how Ferry handles Millsap in free agency next season. Its clear they think highly of him and he should be in line for another great season especially with Horford back. He will be in line for a raise as his current contract is one of the biggest bargains in the league.
How much is anyone's guess at this point. He already gave Atlanta a discounted rate once so I don't know if he will be willing to do that again. There were a lot of big contracts handed out this summer after a somewhat conservative offseason the year before. Market will likely dictate the price on Millsap and he will certainly have a number of suitors.
Given how the teams in the Southeast Division are currently constructed, how do you see the standings looking?
I hate doing this sort of thing particularly this early but it is clear that the East has gotten better this offseason. My prediction for the Southeast Division today would look like this:
Do you think a team in the east can get into the playoffs with a losing record next year?
I don't think that will be the case next season as I think the East is wide open. There is the possibility that it is so wide open that there could be a lot of teams close to .500 vying for the final playoff spot but I think the conference is deep enough this season where it will take a winning record to secure a playoff spot.