Hawks Rumors

Eastern Rumors: Capela, Fizdale, Bulls, Randle, Heat

Veteran Hawks center Clint Capela is expected to be on the trading block this summer, Marc Stein reports at Substack.

As Stein explains, the Swiss big man will be on an expiring $22.3MM contract in 2024/25. Atlanta won the draft lottery and gave Onyeka Okongwu a four-year rookie scale extension last offseason, so Capela could be on move, particularly if the team chooses a big man with the No. 1 overall pick.

Capela, who just turned 30 years old, averaged 11.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 73 games last season (25.8 MPG). The 10-year veteran has averaged a double-double for seven straight seasons.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • According to Stein, before the Bulls hired Wes Unseld Jr. and Dan Craig to be the top assistants under head coach Billy Donovan, they showed interest in David Fizdale. A former head coach, Fizdale was an assistant with the Suns this past season but may be departing after Frank Vogel was fired. Phoenix reportedly offered Fizdale a front office position to stay with the team, but he has yet to accept it.
  • Rival teams are monitoring Julius Randle‘s situation with the Knicks, Shams Charania of The Athletic stated on FanDuel TV’s Run It Back (Twitter video link). Randle will be extension-eligible this summer and holds a $34.2MM player option for ’25/26, meaning he could be a free agent next year if he opts out. “How (the Knicks) handle that extension situation, if that is a conversation, what transpires, I think that will be interesting,” Charania said.
  • The Heat may have to barter this year if they want to trade their second-round pick (No. 43 overall) or acquire another one, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman details, for the upcoming ’24/25 season, teams that purchase a second-rounder with cash will be hard-capped at the first tax apron, and Miami is keenly aware of that fact. “It definitely factors in,” said Adam Simon, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. “And you have to look at the big picture and what business you’re doing. And, so, that’ll come into play. But doing something that’s going to hard cap you, you definitely have to take that into consideration.”

Southeast Notes: Williams, Hornets Front Office, Hartman, Hawks

Grant Williams had a prolific high school basketball career in Charlotte and was recently named one of the city’s best high school players of the past 40 years. Although he wasn’t drafted by Charlotte in the 2019 draft, he was traded to the Hornets at the 2024 deadline and made an immediate impact.

After being dealt from Dallas to the Hornets, Williams averaged 13.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on 50.3% shooting. As a Maverick, he had been averaging 8.1 PPG and 3.6 RPG on 41.3% shooting. In a one-on-one interview with The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr., Williams opened up about his exit from Dallas, which was rumored to be related to a rift between him and star Luka Doncic).

I think it’s a media creation,” Williams said, echoing what Doncic previously said. “I can text Luka today, and me and him are good. … As much as I can say yes, of course, I’ll probably go at Luka a little bit, at the same time, we’ve known each other for four or five years. It’s not something he didn’t expect. He knows I’m a competitive guy and we always compete. So no matter what rumors are out there, we still have a respect for each other and still talk.

Williams will factor into Charlotte’s offseason planning while on an affordable contract that pays him an average of around $13.7MM annually over the next three years. Charlotte possesses two budding stars in LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller, and is armed with the No. 6 pick in the 2024 draft.

You look at the team that ended the season versus the team that started. If you’re a 41-41 team in the West, you’re an 11th seed. In the East, you’re in the play-in,” Williams said. “So it’s only 20 more games for us to win, and I think if everyone is healthy, it’s a chance for us to make an impact and look like Orlando, Oklahoma City, [teams] like that.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets officially announced the hirings of assistant general manager Dotun Akinwale, vice president of basketball operations & strategy Ryan Gisriel, and vice president of basketball insights and analysis Patrick Harrel, according to a team release. Akinwale most recently served as Atlanta’s vice president of player personnel, Gisriel last worked with the Nets for 11 years, and Harrel spent the past eight years with the NBA. All of these hires were previously reported.
  • The Wizards has brought in Michael Hartman to run the team’s strategy and analytics group, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. More front office hires are expected this offseason, according to Vorkunov. Hartman was previously with the Pelicans as the senior director of basketball operations.
  • The Hawks, holders of the No. 1 overall pick, sent team personnel to watch Zaccharie Risacher in France in the first game of the season’s playoffs, as observed by Eurohoops.net (Twitter link). In attendance were general manager Landry Fields, coach Quin Snyder and assistant general manager Kyle Korver. Risacher, the No. 1 prospect on ESPN’s best available list for the 2024 draft, put up 14 points and six rebounds on 50.0% shooting in the game.

Spurs Haven’t Shown Much Interest In Trae Young

Trae Young could be an ideal fit for the Spurs. However, San Antonio has thus far shown little interest in acquiring the Hawks point guard, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer’s story echoes a couple other reports from the past month that have downplayed the idea of Young ending up in San Antonio.

The Hawks, who unexpectedly landed the top overall pick via the draft lottery, are widely expected to consider trade scenarios that would break up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray. Atlanta scoured the league to gauge interest in all of its players prior to February’s trade deadline with the exception of forward Jalen Johnson, Fischer notes.

San Antonio has no clear long-term floor leader and it’s expected the Spurs will explore their options to find a pick-and-roll partner for Victor Wembanyama. Yet multiple league figures tell Fischer that San Antonio’s interest in trading for Young has been vastly overstated.

The two teams could be doing some business together this summer, whether or not it involves Young. San Antonio holds the No. 4 and No. 8 picks, making it a natural trade partner if the Hawks choose to move down. The franchises, of course, completed the Murray blockbuster two summers ago and Atlanta’s front office duo of general manager Landry Fields and assistant GM Onsi Saleh began their careers in the Spurs’ front office.

As for Young, the Lakers hold some interest in him and now have three first-rounders available to trade. Los Angeles will have to consider other options before committing any type of capital for Young, Fischer adds, though Donovan Mitchell might be off the table if he signs an extension.

The Lakers are still pondering their coaching options and they might wait until next month to make that hire, Fischer confirms in a separate story. That’s primarily due to their interest in J.J. Redick. His current obligation to ESPN/ABC for the network’s postseason schedule and NBA Finals has various insiders under the impression Los Angeles’ search may stretch into June, as Marc Stein previously reported.

The Lakers have numerous candidates on their list, but James Borrego has been widely categorized as the experienced, veteran foil to Redick’s candidacy, Fischer writes. The former Hornets head man and current Pelicans assistant has maintained close ties with Anthony Davis since Davis was a rookie and Borrego was an assistant for the then-Hornets.

In other coaching news, Mike Brown’s contract extension talks with the Kings are expected to center around an eight-figure threshold and a Tom Thibodeau extension with the Knicks is also expected to reach those figures, Fischer notes.

Draft Notes: Topic, Top Five Picks, Combine, Bronny

Projected top-10 pick Nikola Topic avoided a serious injury after a scary incident during the Adriatic League finals, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports (Twitter link).

Topic suffered a non-contact injury, with an initial diagnosis of a sprained left knee that will likely rule him out for the remainder of the Adriatic League tournament. However, he should be a full participant in NBA pre-draft activities in June, Givony adds. The Serbian point guard is currently ranked No. 5 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related tidbits:

Hawks’ Seth Lundy Underwent Ankle Surgery

Rookie wing Seth Lundy underwent surgery on his left ankle on May 1, the Hawks announced today in a press release. The procedure, which was performed at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, removed a medial ankle bone spur.

According to the Hawks, Lundy will miss this year’s Summer League, but the expectation is that he’ll make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2024/25 season.

The 46th overall pick in the 2023 draft, Lundy signed a two-way contract with Atlanta and appeared in just nine games at the NBA level, logging 52 total minutes over the course of his rookie season. The former Penn State standout saw considerably more action in the G League, appearing in 25 games for the College Park Skyhawks and averaging 20.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 32.6 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .462/.400/.803.

Because Lundy’s two-way contract covered just a single season, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. If he’s in the Hawks’ plans going forward, they’ll likely issue him a qualifying offer, which would be the equivalent of another one-year, two-way deal. The 24-year-old wouldn’t have much leverage to turn down that offer while he’s recovering from ankle surgery.

If Atlanta doesn’t issue Lundy a qualifying offer by the end of June, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Five Prospects They Might Consider At No. 1

So now that the Hawks won the lottery, who might they select — if they keep the pick? Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution examines five prospects who could go No. 1, including Alexandre Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Nikola Topic, Zaccharie Risacher, and Reed Sheppard.

Getting the top pick provides more unexpected options for the direction of the Hawks’ franchise, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. They could pursue a rebuild with the first pick by trading both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray to separate teams for two major hauls, or they could keep one of them and revamp the roster around the other, O’Connor notes. They could also look to trade down or move out of the draft altogether in an even bigger deal.

  • Young will have talks with the Hawks‘ front office prior to the draft regarding the direction of the team, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link). Charania notes the pairing of Young and Murray hasn’t worked and the Hawks will have to seriously consider moving at least one of them.
  • Add the Magic to the list of potential trade suitors for Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, according to Marc Stein in a Substack post. It’s been reported that New Orleans won’t pursue a max extension with Ingram, fueling speculation that he could be traded this offseason. The Sixers, Hawks and Cavaliers have been previously named as teams likely to be interested in the high-scoring forward.

Scotto’s Latest: Wizards, Kuzma, Hawks, Bridges, Brogdon, DeRozan, More

The Wizards already hold a pair of picks in the first round of this year’s draft at No. 2 and No. 26, but there’s an expectation that they’ll try to acquire another 2024 first-rounder, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

As Scotto explains, the Wizards’ current front office – led by president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins – is focused on building through the draft and developing young talent. The group made its first lottery pick last year when it used the No. 7 selection to nab Bilal Coulibaly, who was one of the NBA’s youngest players this past season. It sounds like Washington is in no hurry to accelerate its rebuild and won’t be opposed to taking fliers on more young, raw prospects, with Scotto indicating that the club also has its eye on the 2025 draft class.

Within his discussion of the Wizards’ next steps, Scotto adds that forward Kyle Kuzma is expected to generate interest on the trade market again this summer after being included in some discussions leading up to the February deadline. Prior to the trade deadline, Washington reportedly brought a Mavericks offer to Kuzma and asked him if he wanted to be moved — he opted to remain in D.C.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Echoing previous reports, Scotto says there’s a “widespread belief” from rival executives that the Hawks will break up their starting backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray this offseason by trading one of the two guards. Those execs also believe that Atlanta will be more open than ever to moving Young, though Scotto’s sources say the Spurs didn’t have “substantive” discussions about the three-time All-Star earlier this year and are skeptical that will change this summer.
  • In addition to the Hornets, the teams expected to have interested in free agent forward Miles Bridges this summer include the Pistons and Jazz, league sources tell Scotto.
  • Rival executives are keeping an eye on Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon as a potential offseason trade candidates, Scotto says. Brogdon will be on a $22.5MM expiring contract and there’s an expectation that Portland will be looking to shed some salary.
  • There’s a belief around the NBA that DeMar DeRozan will ultimately re-sign with the Bulls rather than changing teams as a free agent, according to Scotto, who notes that the veteran forward is comfortable in his role in Chicago and the Bulls are seemingly willing to pay him.
  • Scotto refers to G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis as a “notable” candidate for the Pistons with the No. 5 overall pick, pointing out that Buzelis is represented by agent Michael Tellem, the son of Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem.

Draft Notes: Combine, Mocks, Holland, Trade Rumors, Osobor

Boogie Ellis (USC), Isaac Jones (Washington State), Jesse Edwards (West Virginia), Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Memphis), and Enrique Freeman (Akron) are among the prospects who stood out at the G League Elite Camp over the weekend and earned invitations to participate in the NBA’s combine this week, according to a series of tweets from Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The G League officially confirmed Givony’s reporting (Twitter link).

The combine got underway in Chicago on Monday, with all participants taking part in shooting drills and undergoing strength, agility, and performance testing.

Language in the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement requires all prospects to participate in those aspects of the combine, though they’re still permitted to opt out of this week’s scrimmages. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) identifies several of the fringe first-rounders who have decided to pass on scrimmaging, including Kyshawn George (Miami), Carlton Carrington (Pittsburgh), Kevin McCullar (Kansas), and Johnny Furphy (Kansas), among many others.

As Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network tweets, prospects whose international teams’ seasons haven’t ended are permitted to miss the combine, but those players – including Zaccharie Risacher of JL Bourg and Nikola Topic (Crvena Zvezda) – will be required to complete “pre-draft activities” at a later date.

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Wasserman, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com updated their 2024 mock drafts following the conclusion of Sunday’s lottery to reflect the new order. All three mocks have the Hawks using the No. 1 overall pick on French big man Alexandre Sarr.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic has shared his rankings of the top 20 prospects in the 2024 draft class, with plenty of choices that deviate from the consensus. Hollinger has G League Ignite guard Ron Holland at No. 1, with Sarr at No. 5 and Risacher (ESPN’s top prospect) all the way down at No. 13.
  • Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, two of the media members who were in the draft lottery drawing room on Sunday, share some behind-the-scenes observations from the event and consider what’s next for the teams most impacted by Sunday’s results. Sources tell Lowe that the Rockets (No. 3) and Grizzlies (No. 9) are expected to be among the teams that explore trade possibilities with their picks, though both teams could ultimately end up hanging onto their lottery selections. Meanwhile, Wizards general manager Will Dawkins told Fischer that he thinks “there are multiple All-Stars in this class.” Washington holds the No. 2 pick.
  • Coming off his junior year at Utah State, forward Great Osobor is testing the NBA draft waters, but it sounds like he’ll end up transferring to a new school for his senior year. According to Givony, Osobor has an NIL deal in place with Washington worth $2MM, which is the most lucrative known deal in college basketball this season.
  • A series of ESPN’s NBA reporters explore the biggest questions facing every lottery team.

Hawks Executive Was Reluctant To Celebrate: Win Pushes Team Over First Apron

  • Hawks executive David Starkman, the team’s representative in the lottery drawing room, didn’t know how to react when Atlanta overcame long odds to win the No. 1 pick, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The vice president of player personnel wasn’t familiar with what is considered acceptable behavior inside the lottery room. “I wasn’t sure what the protocol is,” Starkman said. “This isn’t the room to celebrate.” 
  • The lottery win adds $7MM to the Hawks‘ projected team salary and pushes that figure above the first tax apron, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Hawks’ Fields “Shocked” By Getting Top Pick

Hawks general manager Landry Fields wasn’t expecting to come away with the top overall pick in the draft, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution relays.

Atlanta zoomed up all the way from the No. 10 spot in the draft lottery to the top of the heap. The Hawks, who won 36 games, had a 3% chance of getting the No. 1 selection.

“I was shocked,” Fields said. “If you look at the percentages, and when I first saw that it wasn’t between 10 and 12, that launched us into the top four. So I was like, ‘Alright, we got a real shot at this thing.’ So, a bit of surprise, but a lot of excitement.”

This year’s draft doesn’t have a consensus No. 1 pick. In fact, the Hawks could go a number of different ways. However, Fields isn’t turning down his lottery luck, Brad Rowland of Locked On Hawks tweets.

“I look at it, frankly, as an opportunity,” he said. “These are the positions that you want to be in.”

If Fields has a particular player in mind, he wasn’t tipping his hand. The Hawks could use some frontcourt depth after enduring several injuries among their forwards and centers this season, Williams notes.

“I mean, there’s a lot of guys. I think it’s a lot of fun to so many different types of guys,” Fields said. “So many different variations. We’ll look at it. We’ll dive deep and see what comes in June.”

Until Sunday’s results, the Hawks had never won the lottery since its inception in 1985. It’s certainly not out of the question Atlanta could trade the pick, due to uncertainty at the top of the draft class. But Fields indicated that building through the draft is his preferred method.

“It’s how you build teams,” Fields told The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. “You build through the draft, and to have an opportunity to swing as high as we are this year, that’s a really good thing.”