The Atlanta Hawks, by nature of their sizable salary cap flexibility, will inevitably be linked to a number of high-profile free agents in the coming days. In fact, reporting already emerged that the Hawks could pursue Wizards sharp-shooter Davis Bertans, who hits free agency after a career year. On Thursday, another name came to the forefront through reporting from Mike Singer of the Denver Post, and that player is Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant.
Singer, who previously reported that Grant is expected to opt out of a $9.3 million player option for the 2020-21 season, indicates that the Hawks are among teams that could pursue him.
At least three other teams are expected to have interest in luring Grant from the Nuggets, according to two league sources.
Those three teams are the Atlanta Hawks, the Phoenix Suns and the Detroit Pistons. Only a handful of teams will have cap space, including those three. It’s always possible a team like Orlando makes a trade and create the requisite space to go after Grant.
For the Hawks, whose core is centered in their backcourt, Grant would offer a versatile wing who can play the three, four or sometimes five.
Grant enjoyed something of a breakout during Denver’s 2020 playoff run, including the fact that the 26-year-old averaged 21.0 points per game in the team’s final three games against the Los Angeles Lakers. While Grant certainly isn’t a star player, he is an intriguing and versatile supporting piece, with the size and defensive acumen to defend multiple positions.
After a relatively slow start to his career, Grant’s breakout coincides with an uptick in his three-point shooting. The six-year veteran has knocked down 39.1 percent of his three-pointers in the last two seasons and, while they have come on relatively small volume (3.6 attempts per game), Grant’s offense has improved as his shooting stabilized.
In Atlanta, his potential role would be interesting to evaluate. Singer notes that the thinking would be centered on Grant playing both forward positions, and he is certainly capable of doing so. However, Grant is likely best suited at the power forward spot and he would be in a position to command starter-level money on the market, especially if the Nuggets are focused on retaining his services.
In a perfect world, he would be a fantastic complementary piece that could potentially play the 3 at times, back up John Collins at the 4 and even play alongside Collins at the 4 and 5, respectively, in small-ball lineups. It has to be noted, though, that the cost could be quite high after the way Grant displayed his value to the Nuggets during the postseason, and there is a price point in which it may not make sense for the Hawks.