Shortly after the 2019 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks officially signed No. 10 pick Cam Reddish and, on Sunday, the team moved quickly to sign No. 4 pick De’Andre Hunter to his rookie-scale contract after (finally) announcing the much-ballyhooed trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, there was one bit of mystery with regard to the draft and the salary cap and it centered on No. 34 pick Bruno Fernando.
By nature of his status as a second-round pick, Fernando is not subject to the rookie-scale deals of Hunter and Reddish. The Hawks would be permitted to sign the former Maryland big man to a two-year contract (either at the minimum or as part of the room exception) without the use of salary cap space but, with Atlanta’s status as a team with eight-figure space remaining as the backdrop, a league source indicates that Travis Schlenk was able to ink Fernando to a three-year deal.
“Bruno is a talented, young big man who has improved during his time at Maryland,” Schlenk said in a release. “He has a nice combination of size, length and athleticism, and a strong work ethic, so we’re excited to add him to our roster.”
Fernando’s three-year contract would require the presence of cap space but, in this case, the move makes sense. Atlanta made a substantial investment in Fernando, first trading up to secure him and then using a top-35 pick on his rights. That clear belief in his talents, combined with the franchise’s cap situation, dictated that Fernando should be a priority.
As of Sunday, the Hawks were able to lock the 20-year-old in to a deal that will stretch through the 2021-22 season with the prospect of restricted free agency to follow.