The Atlanta Hawks fell to the Washington Wizards in the first round, 4-2, almost completely ensuring Paul Millsap’s departure. Facing a season without their only superstar, what’s awaiting Atlanta in the off-season?
to the Hawks core is big here. A couple of role players are up for free agency. Tim Hardaway Jr. is due for a qualifying offer of $3.3 million, which is ridiculously low for his contribution this season: (14.5) points, and (2.8) rebounds. Forget the qualifying offer, sign this shooting guard to an extension.
Thabo Sefolosha will be a free agent, and has come up big for the Hawks on more than one occasion. A defensive presence, he produced well for a 10-year veteran in this league: (7.2) points, (4.4) rebounds, and (1.5) steals.
If the Hawks have learned anything from prior experience, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. They finished with a (43-39) record, and nearly made Conference Semi Finals. It’s a little too soon to be breaking things down for a rebuild.
is on his way out, but the administration needs to meet him at the door. He’ll be expensive, but Millsap does like playing in Atlanta, and has been a huge factor for their recent success. If they can afford him, resigning Millsap is the best outcome for this off-season.
Should Millsap walk, as he’s hinted that he “most likely” will, that will free up nearly $20-million in salary, and provide them an excellent opportunity at a top free agent. Dwight Howard hasn’t left his prime (offensively) and Dennis Schroeder is a growing point guard with real potential at stardom. Kent Bazemore, Hardway Jr., Taurean Prince, this Hawks team is going places, I don’t think many people can deny that.
As for free agency targets, naturally they’ll have to fill Millsaps hole at the four. I’ve mentioned them time and time again, but Hayward and Griffin would both work well here. Two stretch forwards that are due for a max, but are efficient and dominant scorers in this game.
In regards to role players, a couple come to mind. Bojan Bogdonovic, Joe Ingles, Jeff Green, PJ Tucker? All great role players who produce offensively and defend the three or four spot. These guys won’t be due for huge paydays just yet, so grab them while their cheap.
Go ahead and make Hardaway Jr. a Hawk. Fight for Millsap. Pray you can teach Howard proper defensive technique. Repeat.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by RedrockBasketball via Google Images.