This offseason is loaded with talented players looking for a new contract. Every year teams make big splashes by signing critical free agents. For the first time in a long time, the Hawks made a major move last summer signing Dwight Howard to a three year deal. With this in mind, there is a possibility that the Hawks more aggressive front office strikes again.
Hawks top targets:
The two best free agents of the Summer come from the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. While it would be incredible to have either of them on the Hawks, the probability of it is near none. This list will focus on the free agents that the Hawks have a realistic chance of signing, no matter how far-fetched it is.
Gordon Hayward: SF, 27 years old
The first time all star has made great improvements in each of his six seasons in the NBA and is now one of the best small forwards in the game. This is an absolutely loaded position in the association with Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James all playing a lot of their minutes at SF. With Tim Hardaway and Schroder both developing well, an elite small forward would put this team in a position to contend for a title. Signing Kent Bazemore continues to look like a bad move, so getting an upgrade at that position would greatly help the Hawks. The problem of course is that Baze’s deal was worth 70 million dollars, so signing another SF while still have Bazemore on the roster with his big contract may not make sense.
In a world where the Hawks don’t re-sign Paul Millsap, there are plenty of PF’s that the Hawks should pursue
Blake Griffin: PF, 28 years old
Griffin is an interesting free agent because there are some negatives to go with his positives. He broke his hand when he punched a member of the Clippers staff which caused him to miss a large chunk of the 2015-16 season. He also, after being the #1 overall pick in 2009, has shown very little growth as his rebounding numbers have decreased and his scoring has stayed right around 20 ppg. His shooting has improved, but it is not on an elite stretch-4 level. After a rookie season where he scored 22 ppg there were MVP hopes for Griffin but his career has basically plateaued. The team that signs him will probably be paying max money for a guy that is injury-prone and controversy prone.
Serge Ibaka: PF, 27 years old
Ibaka was in OKC for the glory days of the Thunder, the third part of the big three formed by him, Westbrook, and Durant. After a rough 15-16 campaign Ibaka was traded to the Magic where he went back to his dominant form, scoring a career high 15.1 points per game. His shooting has also been very impressive for a PF, shooting 38% from three point range while making 1.5 threes per game. He is a somewhat similar player to Millsap with the upside of being a few years younger. On the negative, he is much less dominant in the paint; Ibaka averages just 6.8 rebounds per game, not what you want from a 6-10, 235 pound big man.
The strongest position in this free agent class is the point guard position. Having just signed Dennis Schroder to a 4 year deal, they don’t need a star. What they do need, however, is solid depth.
Patty Mills: PG, 28 years old
Mills has no reason to leave San Antonio where he has already won a championship and looks well on his way to winning at least one more. As Tony Parker gets older Mill’s minutes and impact off of the bench continue to increase. He has turned into the ultimate backup: smart, scrappy, and an all around solid player with a nice shot and good court vision. He would be a fantastic addition to any bench in the NBA, especially one that’s coached by a former San Antonio assistant.
Darren Collison: PG, 29 years old
Collison is the starting point guard for the Kings, which basically means he would be a sixth man on any other team. He’s a pretty good player who would be better suited coming off the bench for a playoff team like the Hawks than wasting his career in Sacramento. Like Patty Mills, Collison would be the perfect piece for the Hawks bench, a great mixture of scoring, passing, and sharpshooting that would fit right in with the Hawk’s second unit.
The Hawks ranked 23rd in the NBA in 3pt % this past season, a far cry from the 2nd ranked Hawks of 2015. Dennis Schroder, Paul Millsap, Tim Hardaway, and Kent Bazemore took the most three pointers for the Hawks this season, and only Hardaway shot above 35%. The shooting on this team was extremely streaky and was a major reason for the offensive struggles. Getting an elite shooter either for the bench or even for the starting lineup would give the offense a major boost
Danilo Gallinari: SF, 28 years old
Gallinari has turned into a fantastic offensive threat scoring 18 points per game last season for the Nuggets. He shoots five threes per game and makes 39% of them, a very solid pace. With his great range and unusual height for such an elite scorer (6’10”) he will be getting a big deal this summer so it will be difficult for the Hawks to sign him. If they are able too, they would be getting an elite scorer that would pair very nicely with Dennis Schroder.
Otto Porter: SF, 23 years old
This 6’8” small forward ranked 5th in the NBA in three point percentage for the Washington Wizards. Porter was taken 3rd overall by Washington in 2013 but had a very lethargic start to his career. This past season has really been a breakout campaign for him as he’s averaged a career high 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. The Hawks have shown over and over their great ability to develop young players, so Porter would be a great signing. Adding Porter to this team would give them yet another starter below 25 years old with all-star level potential.
J.J. Redick: SG, 32 years old
Redick is the best shooter of this group and one of the best in the NBA. His 43% shooting from deep was 6th in the NBA, one behind Porter, but he took over 100 more threes. Redick is going to be a hot commodity this offseason as there will be lots of contenders looking to add yet another sharpshooter. Signing him would add a lot of consistency to the Hawk’s shooting. If they also keep Hardaway then Redick could play SG while Hardaway plays SF, or Redick could possibly come off the bench, although it’s hard to believe the Hawks would sign him to be a sixth man.