Southeast Notes: Hawks, Collins, A. Ainge, Bryant, Rozier

Despite being involved in countless rumors in the months leading up to the trade deadline, the Hawks‘ front office decided to stand pat. As John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, Atlanta hasn’t made any type of significant move since trading John Collins to Utah last June in a salary dump.

It’s strange for a middling team to be so inactive, especially since the Hawks had high hopes after trading for Dejounte Murray a couple years ago. But pairing him with Trae Young hasn’t worked out over the past two seasons, particularly on the defensive end, Hollinger notes.

However, Young underwent successful hand surgery on Tuesday and will be sidelined for at least four weeks, giving Murray an opportunity to play his natural position — point guard — while Young is out. As Hollinger observes, despite his relatively diminutive stature, Young has been quite durable over the course of his career, so it will be the Hawks’ first real opportunity in several years to see what they can do without the three-time All-Star.

If the Hawks play well without Young, Hollinger wonders if they’ll be more inclined to trade the 25-year-old this summer instead of Murray, who is on a less expensive long-term contract. Either way, Hollinger argues the Hawks shouldn’t continue their transactional inactivity, as the current roster is too good to bottom out but not good enough to contend for anything meaningful.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • John Collins had an emotional return to Atlanta on Tuesday, per Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. The former Hawks big man spent his first six seasons with the team before being traded to the Jazz last offseason. “I was aware it was going to be very emotional for me. I was doing my best to not let it, but it did,” Collins said.
  • After previously reporting a few “prime” contenders to become the Hornets‘ new lead basketball executive, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein adds another name to the list of possible candidates (via Twitter): Celtics assistant GM Austin Ainge, the son of Jazz CEO Danny Ainge. Austin has been with Boston in various roles for well over a decade.
  • The NBA will allow Heat backup center Thomas Bryant to receive his 2023 championship ring on Thursday in Denver, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), who notes that suspended players are not normally permitted inside arenas on game days. However, the league decided to make an exception for Bryant, who will have to leave after the pregame ceremony. Bryant was a role player last year for the Nuggets.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald takes a look at what the Heat are expecting from trade acquisition Terry Rozier, who returned to action on Tuesday after battling a knee sprain. Rozier says he’s still trying to find the right balance now that he’s not the top offensive option like he was for part of the season in Charlotte. “For sure,” Rozier said. “Not trying to do too much, but you got guys over there screaming at me, telling me I need to shoot the ball. Just trying to figure it out. Wins is all we really care about.
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