The Hawks are shopping the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft and intend to make a push for the postseason in 2020/21, multiple league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
The report doesn’t come as a surprise. Multiple Hawks players and franchise leaders have talked in recent months about a strong desire to make the playoffs next season, while previous reports have indicated they’d be open to moving their lottery pick.
In Monday’s edition of his Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe made a similar point, telling colleague Bobby Marks that the Hawks are “yearning” to earn a postseason berth in 2021 and suggesting that – as a result – the team will be more open to win-now moves this fall.
While the Hawks are apparently open to trading down or out of the draft, they don’t necessarily have to move that No. 6 pick in order to upgrade their roster. The club projects to have between $40-45MM in cap room when free agency opens, which will likely be more than any other team has available.
General manager Travis Schlenk told reporters in the spring that the Hawks may be more “assertive” in free agency this year than they have been in recent offseasons. Since Schlenk’s arrival, Atlanta has mostly made signings in the second or third wave of free agency, looking to identify bargains once the top players are off the board. However, the Hawks are expected to be more aggressive this time around, according to O’Connor, who says the organization wants to “capitalize on Trae Young‘s emergence.”
That cap room will also give the Hawks plenty of options on the trade market, especially if the No. 6 pick is on the table. The team has frequently used its cap space in recent years to take on unwanted contracts in order to acquire extra draft assets, but figures to tweak that approach this year — Schlenk will likely be targeting productive veterans in any trade talks, rather than mere salary-dump candidates.