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NBA Free Agency 2017: Breaking down the available wings for the Atlanta Hawks

You can never have too many capable wings.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks don’t have much certainty with the 2017-2018 roster but, if they do, it comes on the wing. As of late June, the team’s best asset (Taurean Prince) occupies a wing position and the Hawks are invested in both Kent Bazemore and DeAndre Bembry, to go along with recent addition Marco Belinelli.

Of course, it will take more than that to fill out the full, 15-man roster and that means the team will be scouring the market in search of help. Before we break down the wing options that are available, we’ll talk a bit about the players that finished the season in Atlanta in 2016-2017 and then it’s all systems go.

The Incumbents

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. - The Hawks reportedly issued a qualifying offer to Hardaway Jr. this week and that was a no-brainer, even at the higher, starter-level price. With that said, there is a breaking point for Atlanta (or at least there should be) with regard to Hardaway Jr. in July. Is he worth $15 million-plus? Is he worth “Kent Bazemore money”? Is he even a starter long-term? These are all questions that the Hawks have to answer but there is no question that Hardaway’s future is directly tied to any pursuit of other players on this list.
  • Thabo Sefolosha - The veteran wing defender famously became buried on the bench in the playoffs and wasn’t present for exit interviews. In short, that isn’t the best combination to think Sefolosha will be taking a discount to stay in Atlanta. It isn’t impossible that the Hawks could retain him but every indication flows to the contrary.
  • Mike Dunleavy - Dunleavy is technically under contract for next season at $5.175 million but only $1.66 million of that deal is guaranteed. If the Hawks don’t plan to use cap space in other ways, they could elect to keep Dunleavy around and he provides shooting, passing and size on the wing. With that said, they might be able to use the extra money in a more constructive way with regard to the future.

Restricted And Expensive

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - KCP is a Georgia product that is likely to command a massive deal in restricted free agent. As a player, Caldwell-Pope fits anywhere as someone who can knock down threes and defend at a high level against both guard spots. With that said, there is a widely held belief that he isn’t getting out of Detroit and, even if he was, the Hawks would have to renounce Paul Millsap (or make other cost-cutting moves) to even offer a competitive salary.
  • Otto Porter - Much like Caldwell-Pope, Porter is seen as a virtual lock to stay in Washington and it would almost certainly take a max offer to lure him away. Frankly, the two players are here only for the sake of thoroughness. It would be hard to imagine a scenario in which either was a real target in Atlanta, even if both would fit snugly on the timeline of a rebuilding effort.

Not On The Timeline

  • J.J. Redick - The Hawks desperately needed shooting last season and Redick could certainly provide it. With that said, he would be duplicative if Atlanta wanted to bring back Hardaway Jr. (and have Belinelli on the roster) and Redick is, rightly, quite expensive. It doesn’t make a ton of sense.
  • Andre Iguodala - Atlanta reportedly expressed interest in the former Finals MVP and, in theory, he could help the team greatly if Paul Millsap were to return and the Hawks tried to “give it a go” again. However, the Hawks don’t have the type of money that would entice him away from Golden State under that scenario and, if Millsap walks, Iguodala isn’t the type of player you would want on a big-money deal for a likely non-playoff team.
  • Rudy Gay - Gay is more of a power forward at this point and suffered a ruptured Achilles during last season. It is certainly possible that he could provide value in the near term but Gay opted out of more than $14 million for this season in an effort to hit the market. Given his age and the injury concerns, investing big money for a team seemingly focused on the future would be a misstep.

Starter-Level Or Close To It

  • Danilo Gallinari - Gallinari is expected to be available despite the presence of a player option and he is a tremendous player. At 28, he isn’t terribly old and should be able to function as a starter for the entirety of his contract. However, he’ll always be a difficult defensive fit and is probably a power forward with the way the league is moving. If Paul Millsap leaves and the Hawks want to “stay good” for the near term, he could be a possibility. Beyond that, it doesn’t make a ton of sense at a big contract number.
  • Dion Waiters - Candidly, I’ve never been a big fan of Waiters but he was tremendous last season in Miami. He is big and physical defensively with the ability to create for himself and others. Throw in the fact that Waiters shot nearly 40 percent from three and you have a starter-level player hitting the market at 25. He would be a “no way” if the Hawks prioritize Hardaway because both are pure shooting guards but Waiters is sneaky interesting.
  • Tony Snell - Snell is a restricted free agent and Hardaway Jr. might be a better player. Snell is young (25) and is a better defender, though, and could come without the bells and whistles associated with a scorer like THJ.
  • Andre Roberson - This will be an interesting case. Roberson is an uber-elite defender that can’t shoot at all and it’s tough to project him as a result. He’s also restricted and the Thunder have every reason to match any reasonable offer. Could you imagine him terrorizing opponents under Mike Budenholzer on the defensive end, though?
  • Shaun Livingston - The Warriors still have the inside track to sign Livingston but his versatility, passing vision and unique game always pique my interest. He could be a backup point guard option while also functioning on the wing. This is another guy that wouldn’t be on the timeline unless Millsap returned.
  • Jonathon Simmons - The Spurs probably aren’t letting Simmons get away, even at the age of 27 as a restricted free agent. He came on strong down the stretch of last season and will generate interest.
  • P.J. Tucker - Atlanta has been tied to Tucker before and he’d be a great backup combo forward if Millsap came back. If not, he’s 32 and would only be a rational signing at a discount that he isn’t likely to provide to a non-contender.
  • James Johnson - The combo forward just turned 30 and is probably best suited at the 4. Johnson did have the best season of his career in 2016-2017 and is a defensive force when he wants to be. Definitely a high-end rotation player at the very least.

Rotation Guys

  • Shabazz Muhammad - At 24, Muhammad is interesting. He’s young enough to project forward on a “retooling” team but defense is a big concern and Muhammad basically plays power forward on offense. He’ll get paid by someone but it’ll take a perfect fit.
  • C.J. Miles - The 30-year-old declined a player option to hit the market and presumably will be looking to cash in for a final, long-term deal. Miles is a career 36 percent three-point shooter that knocked down 41 percent last season and, while he leans more toward the “3” part of “3-and-D,” he’d be an interesting target.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic - Hawks fans got a close look at Bogdanovic during the playoffs. When his shot his falling, there is value there. When it isn’t, there isn’t much to fall back on and, well, the Hawks have Marco Belinelli for that role already.
  • Justin Holiday - An old friend! Holiday was inexplicably traded, along with Shelvin Mack, in exchange for Kirk Hinrich and promptly became a solid rotation player in New York. He knocked down 36 percent of his threes while playing solid defense and put up career-best numbers across the board. Holiday is also tied to Travis Schlenk from a previous stop in Golden State and could be intriguing in the event that the Hawks want another body on the wing that can function on both ends.
  • Omri Casspi - Casspi is a career 37 percent three-point shooter that competes on defense and can play multiple positions. There is value in that player.
  • Tyreke Evans - Evans isn’t a typical Mike Budenholzer player but we’re at the point where he might come at a big-time bargain. Beyond that, there is still real talent and he would provide the creation outside of the point guard position that the Hawks have needed for a while.

Older Specialists

  • Vince Carter - At some point, the wheels will fly off for Carter given that he’s 41. It doesn’t seem like Atlanta would be a primary option given that he presumably wants to chase high-end team success but “Half Man, Half Amazing” has transitioned into a dynamite role player.
  • Kyle Korver - One of the best shooters on the planet and someone who enjoyed his time in Atlanta. Cleveland has Kyle’s Bird Rights and might pony up but there are worse landing spots for him than with the Hawks.
  • Anthony Morrow - No one has ever figured out how to play Anthony Morrow frequently and hide his defense. He’s still an uber-elite shooter that will be on a roster somewhere.
  • Nick Young - Luke Walton praised Young’s defense last year and, if that is real, his shooting on the other end makes this interesting. Swaggy P loves Los Angeles but maybe Atlanta could provide the off-court life that he would enjoy.
  • Tony Allen - Still one of the best defensive players in the league and Memphis will probably be the front-runner. The Hawks could always use a wing stopper, though, and Allen is that.

Cheap And Potentially Useful

  • Reggie Bullock - The former UNC swingman is set to serve a suspension at the beginning of the season but he has converted 39.7 percent of his threes over the past two seasons. It’s more projection than anything but Bullock could be had at reasonable cost and he’s only 26.
  • Ian Clark - Defensively, Clark’s fit is tough anywhere but he can shoot and handle the ball. Golden State probably doesn’t have the money but if the Hawks want another offensive option that could function at the point, he would be one.
  • DeAndre Liggins - Remember when Liggins was starting games for the Cavs last season? He’s a wonderful defensive player but that’s about it. (Note: Liggins was traded to the Rockets and, presumably, will have his team option picked up)

The Flyers

  • Ben McLemore - He’s probably too good to be in this tier but McLemore’s tenure in Sacramento hasn’t gone according to plan. On the bright side, he made 38 percent of his threes, is a good athlete and has lottery pedigree. Hawks University might be fun here.
  • K.J. McDaniels - Our own RedRev has loved McDaniels forever and it would make sense for the Hawks (or someone else) to take the flyer on him. The defensive tools are unreal and if someone could figure out his jump shot...
  • James Young - Right now, James Young is a shooter that can’t shoot. That is a problem. Still, he doesn’t turn 22 until August and it is at least conceivable that he could be a “change of scenery” guy. The best part is that it won’t cost you much to try it.