It is an open secret that the Atlanta Hawks could be rather active at the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline. Of course, that makes complete sense for a team in rebuilding mode with no current playoff aspirations and, with a collection of solid veterans on the roster, the Hawks should have a number of irons in the fire over the next month.
With that in mind, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reportedly on “buyers” and “sellers” in advance of the deadline and, unsurprisingly, the Hawks fall into the former category. Wojnarowski indicates that the franchise “is pushing to unload veterans and gather more draft picks and young players.” That certainly isn’t a surprise but he continues with a trio of names involved.
The ESPN report indicates that Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova and Kent Bazemore are deemed “expendable” and even paints a picture that “teams are targeting the availability” of Bazemore despite his handsome contract. Because both Ilyasova and Belinelli are on expiring contracts, their inclusion makes sense but is not particularly noteworthy. In the case of Bazemore, though, his resurgent play could present an opportune time for Atlanta to move on from his deal.
Bazemore, in the second year of a four-year pact worth $70 million, currently boasts career-bests in PER (14.9), assist rate, true shooting percentage and steal rate while playing some of the best basketball of his career. It is certainly fair to point out that the 28-year-old remains overpaid (as a result of the wild 2016 offseason) but Bazemore is a very useful piece on the wing and that would translate for the vast majority of teams in the league today.
What kind of price would the Hawks be willing to pay to remove that financial commitment? What kind of price would the Hawks actually be forced to pay in order to do so? Those are open questions but, with the franchise in flux and the future dictating the present, it makes sense to listen.
Buckle up and hold on for what should be an interesting month of discussions and rumors.