Atlanta Hawks

Trade Deadline Outlook: Southeast Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic and Northwest. Today, we’re examining the Southeast.

Buyers:

The Wizards (33-21) have been one of the NBA’s best teams since the first 10 games of the 2016/17 season, but their roster probably isn’t quite deep or talented enough to match up to a healthy Cavaliers squad in the playoffs. Washington doesn’t exactly have a huge collection of promising young players to dangle in trade talks, but the team does have all of its future first-round picks, and could use at least one of them to strengthen its rotation. A deal similar to last year’s Markieff Morris acquisition wouldn’t move the needle enough to make the Wizards conference favorites, but it would make the club a little more dangerous in the postseason without mortgaging much of its future.

The Southeast’s second-place team, the Hawks (32-24), looked like sellers a month ago, but the team is prepared to buy now, and has several future draft picks and expiring contracts to dangle in trade discussions. As some observers have pointed out, Atlanta actually looks like a good fit for Carmelo Anthony, matching up better as a trade partner for the Knicks than most of Carmelo’s preferred destinations. Anthony’s no-trade clause makes a move to the Hawks extremely unlikely though, so the team will have to look elsewhere for scoring help on the wing or in the backcourt.

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Hawks Actively Looking To Add To Roster

At the time that the Hawks sent Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers last month, it looked like a fire sale may be imminent in Atlanta. However, the team pulled Paul Millsap off the market shortly thereafter and has solidified its hold on a top-five spot in the Eastern Conference. Now, with the trade deadline approaching, the Hawks are actively looking to add to their roster, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Although Vivlamore doesn’t specify any particular players the Hawks are targeting, he notes that the team has several assets that could be used in a trade in the next seven days. The Hawks have had discussions with teams about Thabo Sefolosha and Tim Hardaway Jr., per Vivlamore, and those are just two of the many Atlanta players headed for free agency this summer. Tiago Splitter, Kris Humphries, Mike Muscala, and Mike Scott are on expiring deals too — so is Millsap, though the Hawks have said he’s not going anywhere.

In addition to those veteran players that could be included in deals, the Hawks will have a spot opening on their roster on Friday if they don’t re-sign Lamar Patterson, whose 10-day contract is set to expire. The team also has a collection of extra draft picks, including future first-rounders from the Timberwolves and Cavaliers.

Millsap and Dwight Howard have given Atlanta some solid production in the frontcourt this season, and Dennis Schroder has been effective at the point, but the team’s roster lacks additional impact players. A third big man, a backcourt scorer, or another wing are all options for the Hawks if they do make a move.

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

Budenholzer: Paul Millsap ‘Not Going Anywhere’

Over the weekend, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Hawks privately continued to insist that Paul Millsap won’t be traded this month. Head coach and president of basketball operations Mike Budenholzer reiterated that point publicly on Monday, telling Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution that Atlanta won’t be moving its star big man.

“He’s not going anywhere,” Budenholzer said. “You can write that.”

Around the time that the Hawks sent Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers, Millsap was believed to be available, and Vivlamore hears that one person close to the situation believes there was “at least one solid offer” on the table at the time. However, the team took Millsap off the trade block a little over a month ago, with the veteran center telling ESPN that the Hawks had assured him he wouldn’t be traded.

As I pointed out at the time, it was one thing for the Hawks to tell potential suitors that Millsap wasn’t available, but it was another for the team to tell the player himself that he won’t be moved — clubs will often change their minds about shopping a player, but breaking a specific promise to that player is much less common.

Although fans and writers have continued to speculate about a Millsap trade since then, the franchise has remained adamant that he’ll stay put, with Budenholzer’s comment today representing the latest reiteration of that stance.

Assuming the Hawks keep Millsap through the deadline, they’ll risk losing him this offseason like they lost Al Horford last summer. Millsap has a player option for 2017/18, but is expected to opt out, at which point he could sign with a new team or re-up with the Hawks. Presumably, the club is fairly confident that Millsap wants to remain in Atlanta, or a deadline deal would be more likely.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Bazemore, Magic, Heat

Having won 16 of their last 19 games, the Wizards have moved into the No. 3 spot in the East, and look increasingly well-positioned to land home-court advantage in the first round of the postseason. While critics have pointed to Washington’s bench as an area that needs to be upgraded if the team wants to make a playoff run, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com says there’s “ample evidence” to suggest the bench’s production has been “adequate if unspectacular.” As Michael explains, the box-score numbers for the Wizards’ second unit may not pop off the page, but the unit has been impressive defensively, particularly with Ian Mahinmi back in the mix.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • Kent Bazemore received several lucrative four-year contract offers in free agency last summer, but he had an up and down first half after re-signing with the Hawks. As Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes, Bazemore has turned a corner in recent weeks as he’s gotten healthy, and he’s now making good on his $70MM deal.
  • A weekend report indicated that the Magic will wait until the offseason to make a decision on the fate of general manager Rob Hennigan, but in the view of Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel, it’s an easy decision. According to Bianchi, Hennigan’s rebuild has been a failure, and he needs to go.
  • In a pair of pieces for The South Florida Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman examines how the Heat‘s chances of landing an impact player in the 2017 draft have been affected by the team’s recent hot streak, and explores what the team might have to give up in a hypothetical Serge Ibaka trade.
  • Veteran forward James Johnson has a larger role with the Heat this season than he has ever had before in his NBA career, and he has responded with career-best production, including 12.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.3 APG. Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel takes a look at how Johnson has thrived in an expanded role, which bodes well for the 29-year-old’s upcoming free agency.

Stein’s Latest: Ibaka, Gallinari, Lopez, Millsap

There’s a growing sense around the league that Serge Ibaka could be dealt before the trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. Orlando traded for Ibaka during the offseason with the thought that he could be a long-term fixture with the team. However, the Magic now feel retaining the big man in free agency could be harder to accomplish than they initially expected.

A source told Stein that the belief around the league is that Orlando will take the best offer for Ibaka at the deadline. The Magic are fielding calls from several teams and Toronto and Miami are among the Eastern Conference teams to express interest in Ibaka this month, sources tell Stein.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest piece:

  • There is growing belief that the Nuggets are prepared to move Danilo Gallinari, as the team believes he will turn down the player option in his contract and become a free agent this offseason. Stein adds that Denver doesn’t plan on breaking the bank for the small forward and notes that the Raptors and Clippers are among the teams monitoring the situation.
  • The Nets continue to demand two first-round picks in exchange for Brook Lopez, Stein writes.
  • The Hawks remain adamant that Paul Millsap will not be traded. The team is willing to stick it out with Millsap this season even if it means losing him for nothing come summertime.

Knicks Notes: Carmelo, Jackson, Oakley

A Wednesday report from The Vertical suggested that Phil Jackson‘s apparent efforts to push Carmelo Anthony out of New York have only strengthened the forward’s resolve to stay with the Knicks, and Marc Berman of The New York Post has heard something similar. According to Berman’s source, Anthony has told confidants that he may try to wait out Jackson, who isn’t necessarily assured of a long-term stay with the team. While Anthony has no desire to leave New York, Jackson has an opt-out clause on his contract later this year.

“He still feels it’s his team and still loves it here,” Berman’s source said of Anthony.

It’s been a busy and eventful week in New York, so let’s round up a few more Knicks-related notes:

  • One veteran NBA executive tells Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that if the Knicks want Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, the best approach may be to start trading other veterans on the team, since Carmelo has said he’s more committed to his teammates than the front office. That same executive also wondered why the team is devaluing Anthony by making the standoff between the two sides so public.
  • Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated identifies five potential landing spots for Anthony if he decides to waive his NTC. In addition to usual suspects like the Clippers and Celtics, Spears names the Wizards, Raptors, and Hawks. However, Spears hears from a source that Atlanta doesn’t appear interested in making a major move before the deadline.
  • After being arrested at the Knicks game on Wednesday night, former NBA forward Charles Oakley told his side of the story, claiming in an interview that he was simply trying to watch the game when he was told he’d have to leave (link via Justin Terranova of The New York Post). After Oakley denied the team’s assertion that he was the instigator in the situation, the Knicks issued a second statement on the matter (via Twitter), calling Oakley’s account “pure fiction.”
  • “There are dozens of security staff, employees, and NYPD that witnessed Oakley’s abusive behavior,” the Knicks said in their statement this afternoon. Even if that’s accurate, it’s not a great look for the club to continue attacking one of its most beloved former players, and it may further discourage free agents from joining the franchise, as Reggie Miller tweets. We noted on Thursday that agents believe Jackson’s behavior will sour future free agents on the idea of joining the Knicks.
  • In the wake of this week’s incidents, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes that the Knicks’ circus continues to find new ways to surprise and amaze.

Hawks Re-Sign Lamar Patterson

10:26am: The Hawks have re-signed Patterson, the team formally announced this morning in a press release.

8:16am: After his 10-day contract with the Hawks expired last night, veteran guard Lamar Patterson will sign a new deal with the team, keeping him under contract for at least another 10 days, reports Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. If Atlanta wants to hang onto Patterson once his second 10-day deal expires, the team would need to sign him to a rest-of-season contract.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 10-day contract tracker]

Patterson, 25, appeared in 35 games for the Hawks last season before getting another shot with the team this year. The former Pittsburgh standout appeared in three games during his first 10-day contract, averaging just 2.0 PPG and 1.3 RPG in 6.7 minutes per contest. Patterson’s new contract with the team will expire during the All-Star break, but he’ll have a chance to be active for four more games before then.

With Patterson still under contract, the Hawks will continue to carry a full 15-man roster, with 14 players on guaranteed deals and Patterson on a 10-day contract. If Atlanta doesn’t re-sign Patterson when his new pact expires, it would create an opening on the roster, giving the club a little flexibility leading up to this month’s trade deadline.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/4/17

Here are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls:

  • The Celtics assigned power forward Jordan Mickey to their affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Mickey has appeared in 14 games with the Celtics but didn’t get any playing time in the last three games.
  • The Hawks recalled rookie forward Taurean Prince from the Long Island Nets, according to a press release from the D-League team. Prince played for the Nets’ affiliate on Friday under the flexible assignment rule and tallied 16 points, four rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes at Greensboro. He’s played five games for the Nets’ D-League club and 29 games for the Hawks, averaging 3.4 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 10.1 MPG.
  • The Kings recalled center Georgios Papagiannis from their affiliate in Reno, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweets. The 7’2” center is averaging 12.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 2.3 BPG in 18 D-League games.
  • The Spurs recalled guards Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray from their affiliate in Austin, according to a team press release. The duo was sent down to get some game action. Forbes had 20 points and seven rebounds against Rio Grande on Friday night, while Murray racked up 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
  • The Bulls recalled rookie guard Denzel Valentine from the Windy City Bulls, according to a team release. Valentine averaged 30.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 7.0 APG in two games with Windy City.
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