The trade deadline arrives in just two weeks and, predictably, the Atlanta Hawks are a popular team. Because the Hawks profile as an organization prioritizing the future over the present, it makes sense that Atlanta would take calls on veteran players, particularly through the lens of those that may not have long-term roles on the roster. With that in mind, Jeremy Lin, Dewayne Dedmon and Kent Bazemore have been popular names in the rumor mill in recent weeks.
Still, a very intriguing name is now emerging, as rumblings began earlier in January that Taurean Prince could be available in trade and Shams Charania of The Athletic added fuel to the fire on Wednesday. Charania’s report indicates that, in addition to both Bazemore and Dedmon, the Hawks “have engaged with teams” in discussing Prince as a potential trade option.
The third-year forward recently missed more than a month with an ankle injury and, upon return, head coach Lloyd Pierce has given no indication that Prince is bound for a return to the starting lineup on a consistent basis. The 24-year-old was a dynamic offensive option in his second season, shooting 38.5 percent on real volume from three-point distance, but Prince has cooled to this point in his third campaign and questions remain about his offensive fit (especially when it comes to ball stopping) and his defensive acumen at this stage.
Though it is important to note that no teams have been directly linked to Prince to this point, he is operating on a rookie-scale contract, meaning that Prince is clearly a positive contractual asset, even with restricted free agency looming after the 2019-20 season and the potential for extension discussions this summer. That, in turn, would mean that Atlanta should be able to command a strong return for his services but, on the flip side, Prince was not drafted by the current regime (led by GM Travis Schlenk) and may not be seen as a “core” piece of the future in Atlanta.
Hello, Chandler Parsons?
Within the same piece from Shams Charania, the Hawks were linked to Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons. The report indicates that Memphis has “attempted to engage several teams in a deal” to shed Parsons and his prohibitive salary, with Charania saying the list “most notably” includes the Hawks. Context is important in that The Athletic report says “the sides have yet to build the necessary traction toward a trade” but any deal involving Parsons almost certainly would have to include a quality, future-facing asset heading to Atlanta.
The 30-year-old forward has appeared in only three games this season and, while there may be some level of optimism that Parsons could contribute along the way, his salary is more than $24 million this season with more than $25 million guaranteed for 2019-20. If the Grizzlies are desperate to move away from a potentially toxic situation, the Hawks could take advantage in a deal involving Miles Plumlee but, given the financial situation on both sides, a Plumlee-for-Parsons swap (which wouldn’t work in salary matching without attaching another significant contract like Dedmon, Bazemore or Lin) would not be appetizing to Atlanta without a significant asset accompanying Parsons.
Kent Bazemore update
This week, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports was a guest alongside Nate Duncan on the Dunc’d On NBA Podcast and he put forth some interesting information on Bazemore. In addition to Charania’s reporting (and numerous rumblings prior to late January), Haynes noted that he “would expect Bazemore to be moved at some point” and, in a team-specific sense, he shared that “Houston has been flirting with Bazemore all season long.”
It comes as no surprise that the Rockets would have interest in Bazemore, particularly through the lens of a deal involving Brandon Knight and a future asset in exchange for the present-day upgrade associated with the veteran wing. Bazemore hasn’t taken the floor since Dec. 29 with an ankle injury, however, and that could potentially complicate a deal in that a great deal of the value associated with Bazemore comes from his ability to positively contribute this season.
Lastly, Haynes was prompted by Duncan for one player in the entire NBA most likely to be dealt before the deadline on Feb. 7, at which point Bazemore’s name surfaced once again. As always, there should be caveats applied to a podcast discussion given its free-flowing nature but, in short, that was relatively jarring and could reveal a bit more urgency on the part of the Hawks than previously expected.
Bazemore is making more than $18 million this season with a player option for more than $19 million for the 2019-20 season. As a result, any trade involving the two-way wing must include salary matching and, as you may surmise, that complicates matters. Still, there might be some fire to the smoke given the plugged-in nature of Haynes on the trade market and this is a developing situation.