De'Andre Hunter

Hawks Notes: Young, Snyder, Mathews, Hunter

Hawks guard Trae Young faces a fine and a possible suspension after being ejected from today’s game for firing the ball at an official (video link), writes Charles Odum of The Associated Press. Young was apparently upset over a technical he received seconds earlier after being whistled for sticking out his leg to draw contact on a three-point shot. During a time out, Young threw the ball hard at referee Scott Wall, who caught it and then tossed Young out of the game.

“It’s just a play he can’t make,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “I told him that. He knows it.”

The technicals brought Young’s total for the season to 15, which is one short of an automatic suspension. With Atlanta fighting for playoff seeding at 37-37, a one-game absence for its leading scorer could be critical.

Snyder said Young admitted a lapse in judgment, adding, “There wasn’t a single part of him that tried to rationalize what happened.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Snyder has only been the Hawks’ coach for about a month, but he believes the players are buying into his philosophy, per Lauren Williams of The Journal-Constitution. Snyder’s priority after taking over in late February was to instill an emphasis on defense. “I think we’re just trying to continue to emphasize certain habits defensively, that I think we saw some progress and some of those just everything that we can do to help us protect the paint,” he said, “beginning with getting back on defense and having a wall where they see bodies through a possession, or pick up points, people getting into bodies and being blocked, not getting beat in the middle, or we can help each other getting hits on the boards or protect the paint that way.”
  • Garrison Mathews, who was acquired from Houston at the trade deadline, asked Snyder what he needs to do to get more playing time, tweets Kevin Chouinard of Mathews has only appeared in five games with Atlanta and is averaging 7.6 minutes per night. Snyder said his status is a result of circumstances, but added, “He’s a tough player. You can always use tough players.”
  • De’Andre Hunter missed today’s game with a left knee contusion, Williams tweets. His status for Sunday’s contest against Memphis hasn’t been announced.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Heat, Banchero, Magic, Beal

Hawks point guard Trae Young was ruled out of Wednesday’s game against Brooklyn due to a left calf contusion, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Starting small forward De’Andre Hunter will also be sidelined for the second straight game with a left ankle sprain.

Young, who is averaging 27.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 9.9 APG on .414/.316/.896 shooting through 31 games, was injured in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s loss to Indiana, which dropped the Hawks to 17-17 on the season.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Heat stars Jimmy Butler (right ankle sprain) and Bam Adebayo (illness) were both out for Monday’s victory over the Wolves, but were back in action for Wednesday’s game against the Lakers, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscriber link). However, point guard Kyle Lowry was ruled out for personal reasons, the first time he’s missed a game with that designation in 2022/23 after missing extended time last season due to personal reasons. Gabe Vincent was moved into the starting lineup in Lowry’s place, Winderman adds.
  • Head coach Erik Spoelstra suggested that backup center Dewayne Dedmon could miss an extended period of time for the Heat as he continues to be hobbled by plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Winderman writes in another subscriber-only story for The Sun Sentinel. “There’s no point in resting him and then if we’re going to be right back to where he is where we’re managing it every single day,” Spoelstra said. “He would like to put it behind you. I don’t know necessarily if he’ll be able to fully put it behind him the way Gabe [Vincent] was with the week or two weeks rest. But our hope is that it will be a lot better than it was.” Still, being down Adebayo and Dedmon on Monday showed the that Heat might have decent depth in the middle, with rookies Nikola Jovic and Orlando Robinson capably filling in, according to Winderman, who notes that Omer Yurtseven shouldn’t be overlooked going forward either, despite being sidelined following ankle surgery.
  • The Magic have won eight of their past 10 games, and No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero has played a big part in their recent surge, as Kelly Iko of The Athletic details. The 6’10” forward says he’s hoping for both team and individual success for the rest of ’22/23. “Hopefully we can make the playoffs or the play-in, get there and win Rookie of the Year. That’s my goal,” he said. The Magic currently trail the Raptors by two-and-a-half games for the final spot in the play-in tournament.
  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who exited Tuesday’s win over Philadelphia with left hamstring soreness, likely won’t be out for long, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Beal was officially ruled out of Wednesday’s game against Phoenix (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post), but Charania says he is considered day-to-day and could be back for Friday’s contest in Orlando.

Hawks’ Dejounte Murray Out Two Weeks With Left Ankle Sprain

5:41pm: The Hawks have officially announced Murray’s injury, confirming that he will miss at least two weeks (Twitter link).

2:13pm: Murray is expected to miss two weeks due to the injury, sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).

12:40pm: Hawks guard Dejounte Murray will undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the left ankle sprain (Twitter link) that caused him to exit yesterday’s loss in New York after only four minutes of action, tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fellow starting guard Trae Young missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, per Williams. The Hawks are waiting to see if he recovers in time to play in tomorrow’s game at Brooklyn.

Atlanta is already down two starters at the moment. Power forward John Collins out at least one more week with his own left ankle sprain, while small forward De’Andre Hunter is dealing with a right hip flexor strain.

Hunter was set to be reevaluated today and was a partial participant in practice, according to Williams (Twitter link). His status for Friday’s game is unclear.

The Hawks traded two unprotected first-round picks (2025 and 2027), an unprotected pick swap (2026), and Charlotte’s 2023 top-16 protected first-rounder to acquire Murray, a first-time All-Star last season with the Spurs. Through 25 games in 2022/23 (35.6 minutes), he’s averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.8 steals on .452/.366/.836 shooting for the 13-12 Hawks.

John Collins Out At Least Two Weeks; Nets Have Shown Interest

Hawks power forward John Collins will be out at least two weeks due to the left ankle sprain that he suffered during Wednesday’s victory over Orlando, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Atlanta confirmed Collins’ two-week timeline, tweeting that his MRI also revealed joint swelling. His return to play will be updated as appropriate, per the Hawks.

The 25-year-old has dealt with a number of injuries throughout his career — he appeared in 293 of 385 (76.1%) regular season games during his first five seasons, which amounts to an average of 62.4 games over an 82-game schedule — but he had yet to miss a game in 2022/23. The Hawks play seven times over the next two weeks, so he’ll be sidelined for at least those seven games.

Collins has been the subject of trade rumors for a few years, and this season is no different — Ian Begley of reported on Thursday (Twitter video link) that the Nets have “touched base” on the veteran big man, though he wasn’t sure how serious the discussions were. The Jazz reportedly inquired on Collins as well — rumors about Phoenix’s potential interest were disputed by multiple reporters.

Collins is having a down season by his standards — through 22 games (31.5 MPG), he’s averaging 12.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.4 BPG on .484/.219/.845 shooting. For context, his career marks are 16.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 1.1 BPG on .555/.362/.783 shooting.

The Hawks also announced (via Twitter) that fellow starting forward De’Andre Hunter — who aggravated his own injury Wednesday night — will miss at least one week with a right hip flexor strain. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis. If he’s sufficiently healed by next Friday, Hunter will miss three games with the injury, though that’s a best-case scenario.

Hunter, who signed a four-year, $90MM rookie scale extension prior to the season, is averaging 14.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .447/.354/.808 shooting through 21 games (30.9 MPG) for the 12-10 Hawks.

With Collins and Hunter sidelined, the Hawks will likely lean more on rookie wing AJ Griffin and second-year forward Jalen Johnson. Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s potential return should definitely help as well — he’s listed as questionable to make his season debut on Friday against the Nuggets, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

Hawks’ Hunter, Collins Exit Wednesday’s Win With Injuries

8:36pm: Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said Hunter and Collins will undergo MRIs on Thursday, according to Brad Rowland of Locked On Hawks (Twitter link). McMillan also confirmed that Hunter aggravated the same injury he was dealing with heading into the game.

7:32pm: Hawks starting forwards De’Andre Hunter and John Collins exited Wednesday’s game against Orlando with injuries and were ruled out for the remainder of the contest, Atlanta announced (via Twitter).

Collins, the power forward, sustained a left ankle sprain, while Hunter, the small forward, is dealing with right thigh soreness. As Gabe Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets, the Hawks were up 20 points at halftime, so it’s possible that may have contributed to the decision to sit both players.

The Hawks announced prior to the game that Hunter was available but dealing with right hip flexor soreness, and considering the hip flexor is located at the top part of the thigh, it’s reasonable to speculate that there could be a correlation (Twitter link via Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). The team also announced that reserve wing Justin Holiday had entered the health and safety protocols and was out Wednesday.

Guard Gary Harris was injured during Wednesday’s game as well, experiencing right hamstring tightness that caused the Magic to rule him out for the remainder of the contest (Twitter link). Harris was making his sixth appearance in 2022/23 after offseason surgery to repair a torn meniscus caused him to miss Orlando’s first 15 games.

We’ll have to wait for more updates to determine whether Hunter, Collins or Harris might miss more time with their respective injuries.

The 11-10 Hawks had lost three in a row heading into Wednesday’s contest but are in a strong position to snap that skid, currently leading 108-89 with eight minutes remaining. The Magic will have dropped six straight if they wind up losing. Their current record is 5-16, the second-worst mark in the NBA.

11 Players Affected By Poison Pill Provision In 2022/23

The term “poison pill” doesn’t actually show up in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it’s used colloquially to refer to a provision in the CBA that affects players who recently signed rookie scale contract extensions.

As we explain in our glossary entry, the so-called poison pill provision applies when a player who signed a rookie scale extension is traded before the extension takes effect.

In that scenario, the player’s incoming value for the receiving team for matching purposes is determined by averaging his current-year salary and the salaries in each year of his new extension. His current team, on the other hand, simply treats his current-year salary as the outgoing figure for matching purposes.

For instance, Heat guard Tyler Herro is earning a $5,722,116 salary in 2022/23, but signed a four-year, $120MM extension that will begin in ’23/24. Therefore, if Miami wanted to trade Herro this season, his outgoing value for salary-matching purposes would be $5,722,116 (this year’s salary), while his incoming value for the team acquiring him would be $25,144,423 (this year’s salary, plus the $120MM extension, divided by five years).

[RELATED: 2022 NBA Rookie Scale Extension Recap]

Most of the players who signed rookie scale extensions aren’t candidates to be traded anytime soon. But even in the event that a team does want to look into trading one of these recently extended players, the gap between the player’s incoming trade value and outgoing trade value could make it a real challenge to find a deal that works for both sides.

The “poison pill” provision applies to 11 players who signed rookie scale extensions in 2022. Here are those players, along with their outgoing salaries and incoming salaries for trade purposes:

Player Team Outgoing trade value Incoming trade value
Zion Williamson NOP $13,534,817 $34,639,136
Ja Morant MEM $12,119,440 $34,403,240
RJ Barrett NYK $10,900,635 $23,580,127
De’Andre Hunter ATL $9,835,881 $19,967,176
Darius Garland CLE $8,920,795 $33,870,133
Tyler Herro MIA $5,722,116 $25,144,423
Brandon Clarke MEM $4,343,920 $10,868,784
Nassir Little POR $4,171,548 $6,434,310
Jordan Poole GSW $3,901,399 $26,380,280
Keldon Johnson SAS $3,873,025 $15,574,605
Kevin Porter Jr. HOU $3,217,631 $15,234,726

Once the 2023/24 league year begins, the poison pill provision will no longer apply to these players. At that time, the player’s ’23/24 salary would represent both his outgoing and incoming value.

Until then though, the gap between those outgoing and incoming figures will make it tricky for these players to be moved, with one or two exceptions.

The small difference between Little’s incoming and outgoing trade figures, for instance, wouldn’t be very problematic if the Blazers wanted to trade him. But the much larger divide between Poole’s incoming and outgoing numbers means there’s virtually no chance he could be moved to an over-the-cap team in 2022/23, even if the Warriors wanted to.

Hawks’ Owner Ressler Talks Murray, Hunter, Expectations

After acquiring Dejounte Murray from San Antonio in a blockbuster trade that saw them give up three first-round picks (two unprotected) and a pick swap, the Hawks expect to be a playoff team and not just a play-in club in 2022/23, team owner Tony Ressler tells Jeff Schultz of The Athletic.

Ressler conducted separate one-on-one interviews with Schultz and Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to discuss the Murray trade, his expectations for the team, and a handful of other topics.

The Hawks’ owner stressed in both conversations that the team will have to wait to get to the 20- or 30-game mark to get a real sense of where it stands in the Eastern Conference, but Atlanta got off to a solid start on Wednesday with a 117-107 victory over Houston.

Here are a few of the more notable comments from Ressler’s two interviews, which overlap a little but are worth checking out in full:

On whether there was much internal debate over making the Murray trade:

“Yes, there was a lot of debate. Dejounte is a great player, and we gave up a lot to get him. There wasn’t debate about the quality of Dejounte and what he would bring to the Hawks. And now, our starting five, I think we have a good team. (Wednesday) was only one game, but it did say, ‘Hey, we have four guys who can give you 20 points any night.’ And if that’s an aberration, then we screwed up, but we don’t think it’s an aberration. We’re deeper and better than we were last year.”

On whether the Hawks felt like they were mortgaging their future and opening up a win-now window with the Murray deal:

“I try not to speak that way. That’s not good business talk. Good business talk is, ‘Is this a good trade for us now?’ Not, ‘We have to win now.’ As you point out, that’s a lot for any player, and it’s worthy of evaluation and discussion. After losing in the first round of the playoffs, we saw a lot of things we can do better, and we thought Dejounte would help us do many of those things. And we do still have some picks for the future, so we can still draft young players for the future. We’re not out of that part of the business.”

On why the Hawks felt comfortable signing De’Andre Hunter to a four-year extension worth at least $90MM:

“De’Andre has done everything well. He’s had some bad luck in his first three seasons, health-wise, whatnot, injury wise, but you know what, he’s a kid that can do everything. And he’s a great kid, he’s a great player, wants to get better. And for whatever it’s worth, we believe he’s getting better, continuing to get better and off a pretty high bar. So that’s a kid that you’re thrilled to have here. I actually think he complements the rest of our guys beautifully.”

On the desire to bring an NBA championship to Atlanta:

“Franchises that have won a championship or multiple championships I have grown to respect even more. This is my eighth season, and we still haven’t won a championship. I’m proud of the direction we’re moving in. But to be a great, top-tier NBA franchise, you must win a championship. Some people in our franchise are, ‘We won one in St. Louis.’ I don’t count that. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t born. I don’t give a f–k. Our job is to win a championship or multiple championships, and we’re not there, yet.”

Contract Extension Details: Porter, Hunter, Little

As previously reported, Kevin Porter Jr. new four-year extension with the Rockets is only fully guaranteed for the first season. As Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports and Hoops Rumors has confirmed, all four years of the deal have a base salary of $15,860,000, with an additional $4,758,000 available each year via incentives.

Those incentives are divided into two categories and are based on Porter’s minutes played and the success of the team, according to Iko, who says the team-based bonuses are tied to wins, play-in tournament appearances, and/or playoff berths. If Porter maxes out his incentives, the total four-year value of the deal would be $82,472,000, but the total base value if he doesn’t earn any bonuses is just $63,440,000.

Although Porter’s second-year salary isn’t guaranteed yet, it will become partially guaranteed for $1MM if he remains under contract through July 1, 2023, which is when the extension officially begins. That partial guarantee for the 2024/25 season will increase to $3MM at the start of the ’23/24 regular season and will rise to $6MM if Porter remains under contract five days beyond the 2024 trade deadline, as Iko outlines.

Porter can also earn a full guarantee for 2024/25 if he reaches a certain minutes threshold in ’23/24 and the Rockets also earn a top-eight seed and make the playoffs that season, Iko explains. Finally, as long as Porter remains under contract, his second-, third-, and fourth-year salaries will automatically become fully guaranteed on the June 30 before that season begins. The Rockets would have to waive him to avoid paying those salaries.

Here are details on a couple other contract extensions signed earlier this week:

  • De’Andre Hunter‘s four-year extension with the Hawks starts at $20,089,286 in year one and features standard 8% annual raises, increasing to $24,910,714 for year four. Each season includes $1.25MM in unlikely incentives, so $90MM is fully guaranteed and $5MM is available in incentives, as initially reported.
  • Nassir Little‘s four-year extension with the Trail Blazers also features a standard rising structure, beginning at $6,250,000 in 2023/24 and increasing by $500K per year, up to $7,750,000 in ’26/27. As initially reported, it’s fully guaranteed, with no team or player option.

De’Andre Hunter Signs Four-Year Extension With Hawks

8:00pm: The Hawks have officially announced the deal in a press release.

7:07pm: Hawks small forward De’Andre Hunter is signing a four-season rookie scale contract extension worth up to $95MM to remain in Atlanta, agents Thad Foucher and Joe Smith inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports (Twitter link) that $90MM of the deal is guaranteed, while the remaining $5MM on the contract represents unlikely bonus incentives. Scotto adds that there are no player or team options baked into the agreement.

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the fourth-year swingman’s contract extension will pay him $20.1MM starting in the 2023/24 season, with annual salary increases from there. Marks adds that $1.25MM in unlikely incentives could be paid out across each of the four years.

Hunter, the No. 4 pick out of Virginia in 2019, has spent his entire pro career with Atlanta. On draft night in 2019, the Hawks acquired Hunter’s draft rights from the Pelicans, who in turn had received his rights as part of the Lakers’ blockbuster summer deal for All-Star big man Anthony Davis.

When healthy, the 6’8″ wing has exhibited plenty of promise as an intimidating two-way force. However, Hunter has been hampered by injuries through the past two NBA seasons, having missed a combined 78 regular season contests from 2020-22.

Across 53 games during the 2021/22 season, the 24-year-old averaged 13.4 PPG on .442/.379/.765 shooting splits. He also chipped in 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 0.7 SPG. A strong defender capable of effectively pestering shooting guards through power forwards, Hunter operates as an excellent complement to star scorer Trae Young. With Atlanta having shored up its backcourt defense by trading for 2022 All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, Hunter may not be extended quite as much defensively this year.

Earlier this offseason, Hoops Rumors scribe Rory Maher predicted that Hunter could fetch a long-term deal in the range of $60-$80MM. The $60MM is what Rory projected the Hawks would have been willing to offer, while the higher end of the bargain represents what Rory considered to be the rate Hunter and his representatives may have wanted. Instead, the Hawks are making an even more aggressive commitment.

The robust $95MM total value of the deal represents a significant investment in the injury-prone wing, with the Hawks clearly gambling that he will be able to string together healthier seasons and continue to grow on offense in the seasons to come.

With Hunter agreeing to an extension, that brings the tally of rookie scale extension deals to 11 this year, tying a record that was set in 2021, tweets Marc Stein. The 2019 draft’s top five picks all signed lucrative extension deals. No. 13 pick Tyler Herro of the Heat, is the only other ’19 lottery pick to agree to a rookie scale extension.

Hawks Rumors: Collins, Hunter, Injuries, Murray

The Hawks kicked off the NBA’s Media Day season this morning, with general manager Landry Fields telling reporters that John Collins is “still here for a reason” after a summer of trade speculation, tweets Atlanta reporter Brad Rowland.

Trade talk is nothing new for Collins, who has seemingly been on the block since signing a five-year, $125MM deal last offseason. There were numerous rumors involving Collins leading up to this year’s draft, and he was reportedly part of the package the Hawks offered to Brooklyn in an attempt to acquire Kevin Durant.

Fields said Collins understands the situation and has remained professional (Twitter link). The GM added that Collins has expressed his opinion on the constant trade talks, but he understands what the team is doing (Twitter link).

There’s more from the team’s media session:

  • Fields said negotiations are continuing with De’Andre Hunter and the team hopes to have an rookie scale extension in place before the October 17 deadline, tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to head coach Nate McMillan, Hunter has been able to go through normal workouts this summer, which he couldn’t do last offseason because of a medical procedure (Twitter link).
  • Fields also provided health updates on a few players, saying Bogdan Bogdanovic is “not going to be 100% for training camp” after having surgery on his right knee in May (Twitter link). The team is focused on getting Bogdanovic back to full health at some point during the season, Fields added. He also said first-round pick AJ Griffin has been “full go” for a few weeks following a foot injury that prevented him from playing in Summer League (Twitter link), and second-year power forward Jalen Johnson will also be ready for camp after a non-surgical procedure on his left knee (Twitter link).
  • McMillan was in constant contact with Trae Young as the Hawks worked out a trade with the Spurs for Dejounte Murray, Williams tweets. The coach added that Young is looking forward to having a chance to play off the ball this season. Fields admitted having two traditional ball-handlers in the backcourt might be “a little clunky at first,” but he expressed confidence that Young and Murray will figure out their roles (Twitter link).
  • Fields plans to keep the 15th roster spot open due to luxury tax concerns, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The Hawks are about $1MM over the tax line, and Fields indicated the team’s performance will determine whether he tries to get back under the threshold. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing,” he said.