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Hawks, Hunter continuing contract negotiations ahead of extension deadline

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Play-In Tournament Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks held their annual ‘Media Day’ on Friday. GM Landry Fields, Head Coach Nate McMillan and the players spoke to media ahead of another NBA season. Fields kicked off the festivities on Friday morning, touching on an array of topics. One topic that continues to be pertinent is the potential upcoming free agency of forward De’Andre Hunter, who is entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract.

Fields said the Hawks and Hunter are still talking and working on a new deal, hoping to get something done ahead of the Oct. 17 contract extension deadline.

Later, McMillan stated that Hunter has been able to do normal workouts this offseason without injury limitations, which is notable considering he was rehabbing from a procedure coming into last season.

The Hawks are counting on big things from Hunter this season, whether he gets paid before Oct. 17 or not. Atlanta is a bit more limited on the wing in camp than they would like with Bogdan Bogdanovic not at 100%, so Hunter might be even more important if Bogdanovic is unable to play to start the regular season. What an extension looks like for Hunter is a rather interesting proposition, as he has been an effective but inconsistent player throughout his career, while also facing some durability concerns.

There is no question the talent is there with Hunter, but it remains to be seen what kind of investment the Hawks are willing to make with the durability concerns in addition to the inconsistent performance last season. Nonetheless, Hunter is a versatile, talented young forward whom Atlanta’s front office dedicated significant assets to acquire. It will not be surprising to see the Hawks make a substantial investment in Hunter going forward, but one could also see the logic of having him play under a one-year “prove it” type of contract this season without an extension.