A week after the G League’s Erie Bayhawks made a trade to acquire his player rights (with an eye toward a potential training camp invite), the Atlanta Hawks announced on Friday afternoon that they have signed an Exhibit 10 contract with R.J. Hunter, who will join the team for training camp before potentially being optioned back to Erie before the beginning of the regular season.
For Hunter, the Hawks will be his fourth team in four years, as he’s struggled to find an NBA home after stops in Boston, Chicago, and Houston. After three remarkable years at Georgia State, where he broke numerous career and single-season records for the Panthers, Hunter was chosen with the 28th pick in the first round in 2015 by the Celtics. He played 36 games for Boston during his rookie season but failed to make any kind of positive impression and was summarily waived despite having a guaranteed contract for 2016-17.
Since then, he’s played just eight NBA games but has a host of G League experience with the Long Island Nets, the Windy City Bulls, and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. His 2017-18 campaign included career-highs in points per game and all three of the major shooting efficiency statistics, during which he spent half the year on a two-way contract with the Rockets. In mid-August, Houston released him from the second year of that two-way contract.
Atlanta has no two-way spots left on their roster, but Hunter will fill a role during training camp, while Erie retains his rights for the 2018-19 season. Another strong year in the G League will certainly draw the eyes of general managers throughout the NBA.
There are also multiple paths to him returning to the parent club during the season. Should the Hawks suffer a rash of injuries on the wing, elevate one of their current two-way contracts to a full NBA deal, or cut loose another player already on the roster, Hunter would certainly be an option for general manager Travis Schlenk to consider.