The Atlanta Hawks completed their five-game preseason slate on Thursday night with a loss to the Chicago Bulls and, between that contest and the regular season opener against the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 24, Travis Schlenk and the front office are tasked with narrowing the team’s roster. To that end, Atlanta sprung into action, parting ways with a quartet of players and seemingly preparing to enter the 2019-20 season with 14 guaranteed contracts and a pair of Two-Way pacts.
Marcus Derrickson, Jordan Sibert, Tahjere McCall and Armoni Brooks were waived and, while none of those moves are surprising, the procedural aspect is noteworthy. Each of the four players signed with Atlanta on Exhibit 10 contracts, allowing the Hawks to have more bodies available for training camp with the ability to utilize G League rights. Still, it was a long shot for any of the training camp invites to make the final roster and that reality struck in this instance.
The Hawks could, in theory, sign another player in advance of the season, as the team is currently carrying only 14 full contracts. Still, Atlanta does not need to do so if Schlenk and his staff do not see a clear and available choice, and the duo of Brandon Goodwin and Charlie Brown would be available for depth in the early going.
For reference, a major reason why the Hawks would theoretically resist adding another player in the 15th roster spot right now is that any signing would eat away at their cap space. Currently at $5,331,410, per Early Bird Rights, any contract that carries into the regular season would reduce that amount of cap space for each day during the regular season and, by proxy, limit the team’s theoretical flexibility. With cap space at a significant premium during this season, Schlenk would have incentive to save any and all cap space in lieu of a potential transaction that could bring value for the present and/or future.
Later on Friday, the Hawks announced the signing of former Auburn power forward Kenny Gabriel. Atlanta is using a (small) bit of flexibility in order to secure his affiliate rights in the G League and the widespread expectation is that Gabriel will be released in the near future before landing in College Park.