After agreeing to terms on lucrative, long-term contracts with both Kent Bazemore and Dwight Howard, the Atlanta Hawks looked to potentially be out of the running for Al Horford. However, multiple reports now indicate that the Hawks have been working in the trade market in an attempt to open the salary cap space needed to sign Horford, should the All-Star center want to stay.
Hawks have been involved in trade talks today in an effort to open additional cap space to re-sign Al Horford if needed, sources say.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 2, 2016
Sources: Hawks aren't ruling out possibility that they could bring back Al Horford. If he decides to stay, ATL has ways to unload salary.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
Bazemore’s four-year, $70 million pact and Howard’s three-year contract with north of $70 million guaranteed place Atlanta in something of a “tapped out” position in terms of the salary cap. Still, the Hawks could look to shed salaries into the open space of other NBA teams.
For example, a package of Tiago Splitter ($8.55 million), Thabo Sefolosha ($3.85 million) and Tim Hardaway Jr. ($2.28 million) would bring more than $14 million in salary relief, and that is before Atlanta could decline the team option of $3.33 million for Mike Scott. A more simplistic (yet painful) option could be to send Paul Millsap and his $20+ million salary away in a similar trade for a potentially lucrative haul of future NBA Draft assets.
At this point, this is pure speculation, but the Atlanta Hawks reportedly haven’t closed the door on the Al Horford era just yet.