The Atlanta Hawks have intriguing salary cap flexibility this summer and, prior to July 1, most of the speculation centered on Travis Schlenk and company taking on a large contract in exchange for a future-facing asset. However, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago reported on Sunday morning that the Hawks are one of the teams rumored to be showing interest in restricted free agent guard Zach LaVine.
The Atlanta Hawks are one of the team's showing interest in RFA Zach LaVine, according to sources— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) July 1, 2018
LaVine is just 23 years old and, as a result, he would theoretically fit the rebuilding timeline for the Hawks. However, it doesn’t make a ton of sense that the Hawks would display interest for a number of reasons.
First, any reasonable offer to LaVine would likely be matched by the Bulls and a deal that Chicago would not elect to match would likely be a substantial overpay. Beyond that, LaVine has significant injury issues in his past and, at the moment, he is more of a theoretical asset on the floor than an actual one, particularly with regard to questionable efficiency and defense.
Finally, the Hawks currently employ only one natural small forward (Taurean Prince) and Atlanta’s investments in Trae Young and Kevin Huerter wouldn’t align particularly well with the addition of LaVine. Rumblings like this are common, especially for one of the few teams that have salary cap space (in the neighborhood of $20 million) to work with in offering the multi-year offer sheet required.
At this juncture, though, it would be a surprise (at least to me) if the Hawks ended up inking an offer sheet with LaVine.