Schlenk: Hawks’ Free Agency Will Be Trades

The Hawks are one of a small handful of NBA teams with significant cap room remaining, but it doesn’t sound like general manager Travis Schlenk is eager to make a play for any of the top free agents still available. Schlenk, who spoke last month about exercising patience and caution in the free agent market, tells Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his club is focusing on the trade market for now.

“We are going through the trade process right now. Seeing what trades might be out there,” Schlenk said. “That’s the process right now, seeing what options might be out there. Not really an antenna for free agency. Our free agency is going to be trades.”

The Hawks have approximately $22MM in cap room, a figure that could increase if the team waives non-guaranteed players Antonius Cleveland and Jaylen Morris. That’d be more than enough to put pressure on a team like the Rockets, Celtics, and Bucks with an offer sheet for Clint Capela, Marcus Smart, or Jabari Parker. However, Schlenk sounds more inclined to use that room to take on an unwanted contract or two, acquiring young players or draft picks in the process.

“Right now, we have the 14 guys under contract. Jaylen and Antonius are non-guarantees so we could get down to 12 pretty quickly if we needed to,” Schlenk said. “We’ll probably look to carry 14 guys just so we have some flexibility with our space to take on contracts if we need to be. The majority for free agency for us is just going to be taking on contracts to gather assets if we get a player we like.”

The Hawks reportedly explored trading highly-paid veterans Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder earlier in the offseason, but it doesn’t sound like a deal involving either of those players is a priority for the franchise at this point. Asked specifically about Schroder, Schlenk said the point guard’s comments about being open to a trade were “taken out of context,” adding that Schroder is “in a good place” with the Hawks.

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15 thoughts on “Schlenk: Hawks’ Free Agency Will Be Trades

  1. Steve

    In a good place? Idk about that, kinda tipped his hand when drafting Tra. However the Hawks should only deal DS if we get proper value. We don’t need to be in a rush.

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    • iangroc

      It doesn’t feel like there is any sort of market out there for him right now. New Orleans picked up Payton, Milwaukee hired Bud so you know they won’t take him, and Indiana picked up a secondary ballhandler in Tyreke. Maybe Orlando might have interest? But Weltmann said they’re doing making moves.

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      • hiflew

        Well there are always injuries. He can always be traded after the season begins a la Bledsoe last season.

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  2. acarneglia

    I really like the outlook for the Hawks moving forward with Schlenk and Pierce in charge. The young core of Young, Prince, and Collins has tons of potential moving forward.

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    • x%sure

      For fans of youth, more coming besides them^! DAL & CLE r1 protected picks will arrive at some point, and ATL’s own, and 2018’s r1s Huerter & Spellman, and r2 Kansas PG Graham.

      The Doncic vs Young battle matches the larger Southern reconstruction battle, ATL vs DAL!

      The undercard will feature SmithJr vs Doncic for PG in the Dallas backcourt. Regardless of who Doncic covers on defense, just give it to him, coach, so there’s no early discomfort between them. I don’t think Smith burns to play the point, or is better there. “Shooting guard”!

      Schlenk of course wants Young & Huerter to follow Curry & Klay.

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        • x%sure

          Devonte Graham #34 pick. He might be forgettable, except so are all the other Schroder backups… So a possible starter.

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  3. victorg

    I would like to see the rockets trade Anderson and a #1 pick for bazemore.

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  4. Z-A

    Schorder at 15M is a bargain. Compared to Jrue at 26M, Conley at 32-34M (is his above average defense worth 2x as much as Schroder?), Lowry at 31-33M…

    He’s a very viable PG, reasonable rate, he’s not a shooter won’t be, but he isn’t going to eat up 1/3 your cap space either.

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    • Steve

      Kinda what I’ve been saying all along. The Hawks will get value for him. He’s not a salary dump! We may have to be patient and wait until Trade deadline.

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  5. cesc

    Totally agree with you guys (acarneglia & Z-A) you hit the nail on the head.

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  6. hiflew

    I think Schroder could work out well for the Pacers. Swap him for Darren Collison, T.J. Leaf and a lotto protected 2019 first. The Hawks get an expiring PG that can take a little pressure of Young, but give him the knowledge that next year the job is his. It would also give them an interesting young piece and the pick. Schroder on the Pacers could be like Jamaal Tinsley for them. Setting up Oladipo like Tinsley used to set up Reggie Miller.

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