Hawks Rumors

Solomon Hill Receives Salary Guarantee From Hawks

The Hawks are guaranteeing Solomon Hill‘s $2.17MM salary for the remainder of the season, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The move will lock in Hill’s $1.62MM cap charge.

Atlanta had until February 24 to decide whether to make the guarantee but opted to give the veteran forward peace of mind for his steady contributions. Hill has appeared in all 14 games for the injury-riddled Hawks, averaging 5.0 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 20.1 MPG.

Atlanta is Hill’s fifth team since he entered the league during the 2013/14 season. He played for Miami and Memphis last season.

The Hawks signed Hill on a one-year veteran’s minimum deal to add a veteran presence and defensive-minded wing to their mix. Hill was the only members of the 15-man Atlanta roster who was playing on a non-guaranteed deal.

Gordon Hayward Talks Foot Surgery, Free Agency, More

Between the end of the 2019/20 season and the start of his free agency, veteran forward Gordon Hayward underwent a minor surgical procedure on his left foot, he revealed to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Known as “Morton’s neuroma” surgery, the procedure addressed the left foot discomfort that Hayward played through last season and required about four weeks for the incision to heal, according to Amick, who notes that the Hornets were well aware of when they made their four-year, $120MM offer to Hayward and were comfortable with his medical status.

In an extensive conversation with Amick, Hayward also spoke more about his free agency process, his time as a Celtic, and a handful of other topics. Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber:

On the teams that were in the mix to sign him in free agency:

“Atlanta was a team that I was really interested in. … New York was in the mix — the Knicks. Indiana was another team that was really interested, and we had mutual interest for a while. Boston was — like, let’s not forget about Boston. I really wanted to go back to Boston too. There were just a lot of options, and a lot of potential teams that I could go to, but I’d say those were the main ones. Atlanta, New York, Boston, Indiana, and then Charlotte obviously.”

On why he ultimately chose the Hornets:

“I talked to a lot of people about Charlotte, and have talked to a lot of former players, teammates, about Charlotte. And nobody has ever said a bad thing about Charlotte as a city. Everyone loves it in Charlotte.

“… I think the opportunity to go somewhere, get a fresh start, be in a position to try to maximize my potential as a basketball player, I think, going somewhere where I’d have the ability to try and help a franchise get to that next level, it grew on me more and more after talking to the coaching staff, talking to the front office, obviously talking with my agent and my wife and family. That challenge kind of resonated with me. Talking with (Hornets) coach (James) Borrego, and more and more it was like, ‘Man, this is something I think I really want to do,’ so we just went with it.”

On how he’ll look back on his three years with the Celtics:

“Obviously it was disappointing with how everything played out there. A lot of it is just not under my control. I would have never imagined myself getting injured my very first year there and missing the whole year, having a serious injury. That’s obviously very disappointing. Last year, I feel like I played really well, and I feel like our team was in a really good position and I get injured again — like, a fluke injury — the first game of the playoffs. I honestly shouldn’t have come back and played, but tried to play through it and wasn’t able to be myself, so I don’t think we had our full team there at the end.

“… I have no regrets about anything that happened in Boston, and I really appreciate all the fan support — for supporting me through a wild ride of ups and downs.”

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Hunter, Len, Magic

The Magic‘s performance as of late without point guard Markelle Fultz has highlighted his importance to the club, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The Magic are 1-6 since Fultz was lost for the season with an ACL tear. Fultz’s savvy court vision had been a key component of the Magic’s offense.

“We’ve got to figure something out to try to get us going into offense smoother and understand how we’ve got to play,” shooting guard Terrence Ross noted. “With no Markelle we’re trying to figure it out, but it’s tough. So we’ve got to keep going at it.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks wing De’Andre Hunter has grown into the club’s most reliable player, with an improved offensive attack, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic opines. Hunter’s development can be a boon to the franchise in both the short and long term. “He has a chance to be really, really special,” Hawks center Clint Capela said. “To be able to guard the star on the opposite team every night, (it) has been amazing to see that.”
  • With the Wizards losing starting center Thomas Bryant for the year due to a torn left ACL, the club may need to shore up the position with some additional help. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington posits that recently-waived big man Alex Len could be an intriguing defensive fit for the team.
  • Given the season-long absences of recently-extended young starters Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, Josh Robbins of The Athletic explores whether or not it makes sense for the Magic to tank for a high draft pick this season.

Danilo Gallinari Re-Introduced To Contact Activity

  • The Hawks are listing Danilo Gallinari as doubtful to play in Monday’s game against the Wolves, with the veteran forward last seeing action on Dec. 30 due to a right ankle sprain. Gallinari has progressed to half-court individual activities and is now being re-introduced to contact activity, the team announced (Twitter link).

Onyeka Okongwu Ready To Make NBA Debut

The Capital City Go-Go opted out of this season’s G League bubble, so the team won’t be in action again until 2021/22. However, Nichols figures to be keeping a close eye in the coming weeks on the Erie BayHawks, New Orleans’ affiliate. The Wizards are sending four affiliate players and a player development coach to Erie for the upcoming NBAGL season.

  • Onyeka Okongwu, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft, has yet to make his NBA debut as he recovers from a left foot injury. However, he’s not on the Hawks‘ latest injury report, and Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) says Okongwu is excited to get back on the court. Now I’m really feeling good,” he said. “Now I’m really feeling like my old self.”

Updates On Hawks Injuries; Pierce's Status

Earlier this week, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk updated Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (Twitter link) on the health and availability status of a handful of Atlanta players. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo and center Onyeka Okongwu could be available later this week. Sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, a pricey offseason acquisition, will not be traveling with the club on the road this week but is nearing his own return.

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, will miss “several weeks” as he continues to rehabilitate from the avulsion fracture in his right knee. JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets that later examinations did not reveal further ligament damage.

Meanwhile, after requiring a walking boot following a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn had the boot removed today, Sarah K. Spence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.

  • In a roundtable of NBA writers for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner opines that Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will be on the figurative “hot seat” this season. After a blistering 4-1 start, the Hawks went 1-4 in their subsequent five games. Several of those defeats came at the hands of the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, hardly Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Hawks are currently hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the East, having lavished significant offseason money on veteran depth.

Hawks Coach Lloyd Pierce Cleared After Being Isolated

JANUARY 14: Pierce is no longer in isolation, Spencer tweets. He has been cleared by the NBA’s medical staff and can travel with the team to Utah.

JANUARY 13: Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce is remaining isolated in a Phoenix hotel room after a member of the team’s traveling party tested positive for COVID-19, a source tells Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She adds that the positive test didn’t involve a player, but several other Hawks personnel are isolating.

Everyone traveling with the team is tested daily, and Pierce tested negative Wednesday morning, Spencer writes. He is waiting for direction from the NBA’s medical staff and hasn’t been told how long he needs to isolate.

“I think I’m fine. I’ll be fine. I tested negative,” he said. “I’m absolutely fine, but I’ll adhere to whatever comes my way, whenever I find that information.”

Atlanta’s game with the Suns tonight was postponed because league health and safety protocols left Phoenix without enough available players. The Hawks are scheduled to leave tomorrow for Friday’s game at Utah, and Pierce told Spencer he expects to accompany the team. He said players will have to continue to adjust to sudden schedule changes.

“It’s an unfortunate situation for the game, it’s an unfortunate situation across the league,” Pierce said. “I think for us, more than anything, it’s just making sure the guys can get on the court and get some work in. This whole season, the court time is limited. So we can’t afford to lose court time just because a game has been postponed, because that just sets us back even further.”

Wednesday’s Suns/Hawks Game Postponed

Wednesday night’s game in Phoenix between the Suns and Hawks has been postponed, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As of Tuesday night, the Suns only had one player (Jalen Smith) listed as being out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Hawks are missing several players due to injuries, but had no players in the protocols.

However, Phoenix’s most recent game took place on Monday in Washington, and the Wizards had their Wednesday game postponed as a result of having too many players tied up in a contact tracing investigation. Sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that the Wizards have positive COVID-19 tests on their roster and that the contact tracing affecting Washington has now extended to the Suns.

The total number of postponed NBA games this week is beginning to add up. After postponing a game between Houston and Oklahoma City back on December 23, the NBA was able to play all of its games as scheduled up until this Sunday, when the Celtics/Heat contest was affected.

Today’s Hawks/Suns postponement represents the sixth time since Sunday that has a game has had to be pushed back, and the seventh time in total this season. Three contests (Hawks/Suns; Celtics/Magic; and Jazz/Wizards) that were initially on the schedule for tonight won’t be played.

Ticketed Fans Won't Be Allowed Until January 26

  • The Hawks have pushed back the targeted return of ticketed fans at State Farm Arena to January 26 due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a team press release. The Hawks will open at 10% capacity (approximately 1,700 tickets) before gradually increasing throughout the season, pending adequate conditions.

Bogdan Bogdanovic Suffers Fractured Knee

Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has sustained an avulsion fracture in his right knee, along with associated soft tissue inflammation and a bone bruise, the team announced in a press release. The fourth-year guard underwent an MRI earlier today.

Bogdanovic suffered the injury during the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Charlotte, later being listed as “doubtful” to return. He was ruled out a short time later.

While a recovery timeline for Bogdanovic has yet to be announced, an extended absence seems likely. His treatment plan will be reviewed and updated later this week, the team said.

Bogdanovic, 28, has averaged 9.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 23.7 minutes per game this season, shooting 38.5% from the floor and 36% from deep in nine contests. He signed a four-year, $72MM offer sheet to join the Hawks in free agency after spending his first three seasons with Sacramento.

One of several veteran free agents signed by Atlanta in the fall, Bogdanovic has now joined most of his fellow newcomers on the injury list. Kris Dunn (ankle), Danilo Gallinari (ankle), and Rajon Rondo (knee) are also out.

Atlanta has upcoming games scheduled against the Sixers on Monday and Suns on Wednesday. The team currently holds a 4-5 record through nine contests, having dropped four straight games.