The notion that most of the Atlanta Hawks roster is available for the right price is not a new one and, this week, that particular point is being repeated ad nauseum from coast to coast. However, there is a bit of new information in a report from Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports that will force inspire eyebrow raises from many Hawks fans.
Though Mannix made sure to note that Travis Schlenk and the Hawks “have made everyone available,” the specifics of his piece included a tidbit about Taurean Prince.
Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, veteran, floor-spacing players, have generated interest, as has second-year swingman Taurean Prince. Dennis Schroder is available, but the three-years and $46.5 million remaining on Schroder’s deal coupled with a string of maturity issues have made interest minimal.
Belinelli, Ilyasova and Dewayne Dedmon have been the focus of most of the attention and that makes sense given that all are on expiring (or potentially expiring, in Dedmon’s case) contracts this season. Beyond that, Schröder and Kent Bazemore have been in the news as potentially movable pieces and, while everyone seems to agree that Bazemore is playing well to the point where he is now only somewhat overpaid, the Schröder feedback has not been overly encouraging.
Still, the headliner here is the inclusion of Prince, who is widely seen as Atlanta’s runner-up in terms of “most unavailable asset” in trailing only John Collins. It has been an up and down season for the 23-year-old former lottery pick, as Prince is shooting the ball quite well (40.2 percent from three) but struggling on the defensive end and, at least at times, with effort and energy on both sides of the floor.
In fact, Prince’s January struggles (34.8% FG, 30.8% 3PT, 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds per game) could have dinged his market value considerably. Beyond that, he is on the older side for a second-year player after a lengthy career at Baylor and, while he profiled as a 3-and-D option coming out of college, the defensive concerns are real and, to some extent, troubling at this juncture.
Prince is certainly one of Atlanta’s better on-roster assets at the moment, with cost control for two additional seasons with restricted free agency looming after that. In the grand scheme, though, it remains to be seen as to what his value around the league might be and, even with some reason for future optimism, Schlenk is right to at least consider moving him for an impressive return.
As another interesting note, Prince was not selected in the draft by Schlenk and, in similar fashion to Schröder and others, that lends a bit of uncertainty to the GM’s personal evaluation of his skill set.
While Belinelli and, potentially, Ilyasova, are garnering buzz about buyouts and seem unlikely to be on the team in March, the Hawks are, of course, under no firm mandate to trade anyone on the roster. It is, however, prudent for a rebuilding, future-facing franchise to evaluate the roster openly and, by all accounts, Atlanta is doing just that by making every non-Collins member of the roster at least tangentially available.