Atlanta Hawks

Community Shootaround: Hawks Free Agents

The Hawks lost to the Cavaliers on Monday night by a score of 104-93 and have fallen a game behind Cleveland in the series. Atlanta, coming off a 48-34 campaign, has a busy offseason ahead of it, and with a number of key players set to hit free agency, the franchise will certainly have some difficult calls to make.

Al Horford (15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds), Kirk Hinrich (0.5 points, 1.3 assists), Kent Bazemore (11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds) and Kris Humphries (6.4 points, 3.4 rebounds) are all set to become unrestricted free agents, Mike Scott (6.2 points, 2.7 rebounds) and Lamar Patterson (2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds) both have non-guaranteed deals, plus, the Hawks have a team option for Mike Muscala worth $1,015,696. Atlanta currently has $51.7MM in guaranteed salary committed for 2016/17, which means the franchise could have approximately $40MM in cap flexibility to work with this offseason.

This brings me to today’s topic: Who among Atlanta’s potential free agents should the team re-sign/retain this summer? Who should the team let walk?

Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and voice your opinions on the subject. Tell us who the team should prioritize retaining for the 2016/17 season and why. If you are against one or more of the players mentioned above remaining in a Hawks uniform, share your thoughts with us on that as well. We look forward to what you have to say.

Bazemore Would Prefer To Stay In Atlanta

The HawksKent Bazemore stands to significantly increase his $2MM salary as he heads toward free agency, but he tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe that he has been too busy to think about it. “Honestly, I haven’t had time,” Bazemore said. “It’s been a very aggressive year as far as scheduling, as far as the physical and mental load. I think in December, I had already played 300 more minutes than I had the whole last year. So physically, it was a lot.” Bazemore probably attracted a lot of suitors by averaging 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in his first full year as a starter with the Hawks. He was the team’s fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. Although he can expect to get plenty of offers this summer, Bazemore’s first choice is to remain in Atlanta. “Being able to be out there and play through your mistakes and have a coach [Mike Budenholzer] who takes it personal to coach you,” Bazemore said. “He loves my competitiveness and I love how competitive he is. It’s a match made in heaven.”

Hawks Assign Patterson To D-League

Community Shootaround: Al Horford

Al Horford‘s future with the franchise is perhaps the biggest question facing the Hawks this offseason. The 29-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent. He stands to more than double his salary in free agency and may change the perception of who deserves a max contract, opined Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Horford is making $12MM this season, but when he hits the open market this summer after completing his ninth NBA season, he’ll be eligible for a contract starting at approximately 30% of the salary cap. That works out to a first-year salary of approximately $26MM and means that a four-year maximum contract for the veteran player would cost a team in the neighborhood of $111MM.

That is certainly a hefty sum for a player who has never averaged higher than 18.6 points per game in a season, but with the salary cap set to increase markedly for next season, the perception of player worth is likely to change dramatically as well. That brings me to the topic for today: Is Al Horford worth a maximum salary contract?

The big man is coming off a solid, if unspectacular campaign that saw him post averages of 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 32.1 minutes per outing. Horford is a perfect fit in coach Mike Budenholzer‘s offense, which certainly should factor into the Hawks’ decision-making process regarding the center. Signing any big man to a long-term pact is a major risk these days, and Horford, who turns 30 in June, is entering the decline phase of his career, which isn’t a plus when weighing the pros and cons of committing a sizeable chunk of cap space to him. The center has had injury issues in the past, missing significant parts of the 2011/12 and 2013/14 campaigns.

But what say you? Is Horford worth annual salaries of $26MM or more? If so, do you think he re-signs with the Hawks for that amount or heads elsewhere? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

Assistants Darvin Ham, Kenny Atkinson Draw Praise

Hawks Assign Lamar Patterson To Spurs Affiliate

  • The Hawks have assigned Lamar Patterson to the D-League affiliate of the Spurs, Atlanta announced. The D-League Spurs are set to play tonight as they resume a postseason game that had been suspended Sunday when condensation formed on the court. Atlanta’s next playoff game is Tuesday. The Hawks are without their own affiliate but have sent players, including Patterson, to the Austin Spurs on many occasions.

Southeast Notes: Lin, Beal, Horford, Patterson

Hornets point guard Jeremy Lin says Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson helped lay the groundwork for “Lin-sanity,” relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Atkinson, who will become the Nets’ new head coach once Atlanta’s playoff run is complete, aided in Lin’s development when both were with the Knicks. “I’ll text after a game at midnight, one o’clock when I go home,” Lin recalls, “and I’ll say, ‘Hey, can I look at those turnovers? Can I look at the upcoming team? How they run pick-and-rolls?’ And he’ll have the film ready when I walk into the facility the next morning. When I wasn’t playing much, we were working out before practice, and after practice, he was picking apart my game, teaching me what it’s like to play in Coach [Mike] D’Antoni’s system.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Restricted free agent Bradley Beal said he and backcourt partner John Wall both have to play better for the Wizards to be successful, according to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The fourth-year shooting guard was limited to a career-low 55 games this season and was placed on a minutes restriction after doctors found “the beginnings of a stress reaction in his lower right fibula” in December. “It’s been a rocky year in terms of injuries, offense changing, getting used to playing with new guys on the team and adjusting to a few things,” Beal said. “We both should’ve had a better year than we had. We should’ve carried the team a little better than what we did. We both can attest to it.”
  • The Hawks‘ Al Horford stands to more than double his salary in free agency and may change the perception of who deserves a max contract, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Horford is making $12MM this season, but when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer after completing his ninth NBA season, he will be eligible for a contract starting at approximately 30% of the salary cap, or about $26MM. Hamilton says that may seem expensive for a player who has never averaged 20 points per game, but Horford will likely define the market for fellow free agents Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade, Mike Conley and Harrison Barnes.
  • The Hawks sent Lamar Patterson back to the Austin Spurs of the D-League to finish their playoff series, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Journal Constitution. Atlanta recalled Patterson on Friday after Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a groin injury.

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