The Atlanta Hawks have a "full" roster at this point. Over the weekend, we took a glance at the 15 players currently under contract (or contract agreement, in the case of Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore and Malcolm Delaney) and, frankly, it would not be a shock if Mike Budenholzer, Wes Wilcox and the front office simply elected to roll with this group for the 2016-2017 season.
However, the Hawks could get creative in terms of roster building. Both Mike Scott and Lamar Patterson could be on the move for little (Patterson) to no (Scott) penalty in the coming days, and Tiago Splitter's $8.55 million contract would potentially be movable given the current free agent landscape. In addition, it would be easy to make an argument that Atlanta needs another point guard option as insurance for Delaney failing to translate to the NBA game and it is always to intriguing to explore ways to improve the roster.
With that in mind, there are several NBA free agents remaining on the market, and we've split them into two categories. Essentially, the group of point guards is (very) weak, while options that Atlanta could evaluate to replace either Patterson or Scott on the roster would be more interesting. It must be said that Scott is a vastly more valuable option at his $3.3 million salary cap number than you might think, but there are, of course, the legal complications he will face beginning on July 12, and that could throw a wrench in Atlanta's plans.
Now, to the list.
(Note: These names are formulated from my own brain and not associated with any "reported" intelligence)
Malcolm Delaney might be better than all of these options, but it never hurts to have three point guards available. Also, the Hawks could look to a younger/cheaper option as a D-League project, especially if they feel comfortable with Delaney immediately.
- Langston Galloway - Galloway is now unrestricted after New York pulled its qualifying offer, and the 24-year-old has the added benefit of playing (somewhat) effectively off the ball with the Knicks. I'm a fan of Galloway's defensive potential, and he would provide some versatility and youth.
- Jarrett Jack - Jack has been a very popular name. Still, he tore his ACL in January, and at the age of 32, we don't really know what he has left in the tank. If the Hawks could snatch him for a bargain basement salary, there would be some merit, though.
- Mario Chalmers - Chalmers is now 30 and coming off an Achilles tear, but he might be the best player on this list when healthy. He is a career 36% shooter from three that would be more than capable in a backup role.
- Shane Larkin - I love this option. Larkin is the youngest player on this list at the age of 23, and he could be available for a low salary. He is very small, but with Delaney already on board, that would be less of a concern and the Hawks could take the gamble of letting him potentially thrive in this pace-and-space system.
- Greivis Vasquez - This wouldn't be flashy, but Vasquez can play. He's slow and plodding but has shown the ability to run an NBA offense and would be a nice change of pace from the blur of Dennis Schröder.
The Hawks have a less glaring "need" in terms of adding a player at a forward spot, but if the team is ready to move on from Scott, he'll need to be replaced. It is nice to have Mike Muscala's versatility to play the 4 or 5 spots, but ideally, he would be the 3rd option at either position. There are some nice players on the market, and even if some of them are potentially out of the price range, it never hurts to ask.
- Mo Harkless - This is a reach, simply because the Hawks may not have the money to go after Harkless unless Splitter was moved. Still, I'm a huge fan of the 23-year-old combo forward. He really came into his own in Portland, flashing the ability to effectively defend power forwards and presenting athletic upside that is rarely available at this price. If Harkless would consider a deal in the $7-8 million range (i.e. the Hawks moving on from Scott/Patterson), sign me up.
- Terrence Jones - Remember when Terrence Jones was a wildly attractive asset? The end was grim for Jones in Houston, but he remains only 24 (!) years old and the former Kentucky forward recently posted back-to-back years with an 18+ PER for the Rockets. There looks to be some level of baggage here, but Jones is young enough and Atlanta's culture is strong enough where I might buy it.
- Derrick Williams - Williams might not be good. Still, he has a pedigree and, at 25, there is enough time to talk you into fixing his jump shot. I'm not sure he should have opted out in New York, but Williams would be an interesting buy-low candidate.
- Jonas Jerebko - The 29-year-old has a non-guaranteed deal in Boston, but if the Celtics elect to move on, Jerebko would be great in Atlanta. He is a career 35% three-point shooter that can also defend, and he would be an immediate upgrade on Scott with the possibility of playing center in certain looks.
- Amir Johnson - Speaking of non-guaranteed contracts from Boston, Johnson has a similar look to Jerebko. He is less versatile, but Johnson's defense would be a very nice asset off the bench. This would especially be enticing if Splitter was moved.
- Gerald Henderson - Henderson is a stretch to fit in this conversation given his size (6-foot-5), but I've long been a fan of his work. The former Duke wing has been asked to defend power forwards at times in recent years, and if the Hawks want to play small, Henderson would be a great addition. Now that he has added a jump shot (34.4% from three over three seasons), that wouldn't be a concern, either.
- Alan Anderson - Mike Scott is probably better than Alan Anderson right now, but Lamar Patterson isn't. Anderson is now 33 years old and has real injury concerns, but he has effectively played 3 positions in the past and it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring another vet on board to tutor the two rookie forwards. Also, he might be be able to play.
The Hawks may "stand pat" here, especially if the organization believes that Mike Scott will be allowed to play basketball in 2016-2017. Atlanta could, though, use an infusion of talent and there is just enough flexibility to think an upgrade could arise.