A week after signing Thomas Robinson as the Atlanta Hawks first camp invitation, another big man has reportedly emerged with the second in the form of Cole Aldrich.
Aldrich was cut earlier this summer from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he spent the past two years after signing a three-year contract in 2016 worth $22 million. His fall from grace was swift and sudden; he fell out of favor with head coach and general manager Tom Thibodeau and played just a total of 49 minutes in 2017-18. Aldrich burst onto the scene in 2015-16 on a minimum deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he was a key cog of their bench units, but the rash of big men in Minnesota pushed him off the court.
Coming off such a lucrative contract, it’s a bit of a surprise to see Aldrich available to sign a non-guaranteed camp deal with a team that already employs a number of centers, but so goes the current market for big men. A consistent theme throughout the league this summer was the large supply and relatively low demand for a player with Aldrich’s skill set — the league has moved away from large, lumbering centers in favor of more agility and versatility at that position.
Aldrich will compete with Robinson to perhaps displace one of Atlanta’s 15 guaranteed contracts on the team’s final roster. Having already signed Daniel Hamilton and Vince Carter to those final two spots, the Hawks don’t currently have room to promote either non-guaranteed player to the regular season roster, but things can always change between now and mid-October, especially as it relates to the contract status of Tyler Dorsey and DeAndre’ Bembry, two wings who could very well see their time in Atlanta come to an abrupt finish.