On Sunday, word broke from multiple reports that the Atlanta Hawks signed 28-year-old wing Bogdan Bogdanovic to a four-year, $72 million offer sheet. Though full terms (headlined by Bogdanovic’s 2020-21 salary) are not yet available, the contract reportedly includes a fourth-year player option and a 15 percent trade kicker, with the Hawks — seemingly with intention — making the deal quite difficult for the Sacramento Kings to match.
To that end, the Kings may elect to let Boganovic go to the Hawks and, in fact, many insiders believe that is the more likely option. Sacramento is facing potential luxury tax issues in the future, especially after giving De’Aaron Fox a max contract extension, and the Kings also have hefty investments in Buddy Hield (who is now on a large contract of his own) and 2020 lottery pick Tyrese Haliburton.
However, there is at least a chance the Kings elect to match the offer sheet and, if that happens, Bogdanovic will be sticking around in Sacramento. The Kings have 48 hours from the time the deal was signed on Sunday so, potentially until Tuesday (with Marc Stein of the New York Times reporting an extended window), Atlanta will be waiting for final word on whether they will be adding a starting-caliber wing to the mix.
From a basketball standpoint, there is plenty to sift through for Atlanta, especially with the large investment in Danilo Gallinari to go along with the team’s group of young players. As such, the Hawks don’t necessarily need to panic if the Kings match the offer sheet for Bogdanovic but, at the same time, many are wondering what Atlanta may do if that happens.
First and foremost, there is at least some uncertainty as to how much salary cap space the Hawks currently have. Contracts for Gallinari and Rajon Rondo could be structured in different ways, and as noted above, Bogdanovic’s starting salary is unclear and also dependent on how much space Atlanta actually has in this moment. Still, we can estimate the range of salary cap room the Hawks would have if the Kings match, and that figure projects to land between $16.5 million and $19 million.
Who is still available on the free agent market?
Simply put, there isn’t a single player remaining on the free agent market that is on the same level as Bogdanovic. Brandon Ingram and Anthony Davis are technically still free agents, but neither are leaving their teams. From there, a few interesting big men are available, but Atlanta does not need to invest a substantial contract in the frontcourt.
There are a few intriguing options available, including Glenn Robinson III, but there isn’t anyone worthy of an eight-figure annual investment. As such, the Hawks will need to explore other options to fill out the salary cap... if Bogdanovic isn’t on the team.
On the bright side, the Hawks already project to have quality depth, and that means a relative lack of weaknesses that must be addressed. Here is a quick glance at who is on board, with Bogdanovic still pending.
- Guards — Trae Young, Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn, Brandon Goodwin
- Wings — Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, Tony Snell, Skylar Mays
- Forwards — John Collins, Danilo Gallinari, De’Andre Hunter, Solomon Hill
- Centers — Clint Capela, Onyeka Okongwu, Bruno Fernando, Nathan Knight (Two-Way)
There are 14 players currently under contract, with Knight locked into a Two-Way and Goodwin’s deal reportedly guaranteed. From there, Mays will likely be on the team somewhere, either on a full-roster deal or in the other Two-Way slot. Atlanta could reasonably field a roster of only 14 players, plus Two-Way options, though the Hawks could also fill the entire 15-man roster.
In terms of “needs,” the Hawks could certainly use another wing, preferably with three-point shooting ability, if Bogdanovic does not arrive. From there, Atlanta might seek to add one more depth piece at center after the trade of Dewayne Dedmon, though that player does not need to command a large investment. For example, the Hawks could look to bring back Skal Labissiere, though other options could be in play for what projects to be a small role.
The trade market
No matter how much salary cap space the Hawks actually have available (within the aforementioned range), they will have intriguing options. Without a natural free agent to pursue, the Hawks could turn to the trade market with interesting leverage.
Only a few teams have meaningful salary cap space as of this late point in the calendar and, if the Hawks are comfortable with what they have, they could use that space to extract future assets. If they want to be active in adding to the 2020-21 core, the Hawks are in a strong position to do so, as trades for rotation-caliber players would be (much) easier with the team wielding meaningful cap space.
After the additions of Gallinari, Rondo and Dunn, coupled with internal development, the 2020-21 Hawks will be meaningfully better on the court, even if Bogdanovic ends up in Sacramento. Still, Atlanta would be even better with Bogdanovic on the roster. Even with a very large financial investment that can be evaluated with regard to “value,” he would absolutely help the team as a talented offensive creator that is well-regarded in league circles. Atlanta must have a plan of some sort if Bogdanovic remains in Sacramento and, for the record, the Hawks could not acquire Bogdanovic (by any mechanism) for one year if the Kings match the offer sheet.