Kevin Huerter

Hawks Notes: Huerter, Hunter, Bogdanovic, Capela, Vaccinations

Extension talks are ongoing between the Hawks and Kevin Huerter but GM Travis Schlenk isn’t sure if anything will get signed, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes.

“As I’ve said all along, we’re hopeful to get something done with Kevin long-term, but if we don’t, that’s OK too,” Schlenk said. “As we saw last year with John (Collins), that certainly doesn’t mean that we’re not going to work hard next year in free agency to try to get Kevin wrapped up long-term. These things are kind of hard to predict how things will go. They’re kind of hard to do.”

If no agreement is reached, Huerter will be a restricted free agent next summer.

We have more on the Hawks:

  • De’Andre Hunter won’t be a full participant in camp, according to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The teams expects him to be ready when the season begins. Hunter underwent right knee surgery in June. Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who also dealt with knee injuries last season, are also expected to a full go by the regular season. Clint Capela had a PRP injection in his Achilles tendon, and he’ll gradually ramp up activity during camp, Spencer adds.
  • The Hawks will be fully vaccinated by the start of the season, Spencer writes. One player still has to receive his second dose, but that will be done by opening night. All staff members have been vaccinated.
  • ICYMI, Jahlil Okafor has signed a non-guaranteed contract. Get the details here.

Hawks Notes: Reddish, Collins, Huerter, Hunter

The Hawks have enough young players and future draft picks to facilitate a Ben Simmons trade, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. He uses the Timberwolves as an example of a team that wants Simmons, but may not have the assets to make an offer that would interest the Sixers. Kirschner suggests Cam Reddish could be appealing in that scenario, with Atlanta getting something of value for helping the deal get done.

The Hawks looked into trading Reddish around draft time, but sources tell Kirschner that no deal was ever imminent. There’s a decent chance Reddish will be eventually be moved, Kirschner adds, but there’s no urgency to deal him right away. Injuries limited Reddish to 26 games last season, but he averaged 12.8 PPG when he returned for the playoff series with the Bucks.

There’s more on the Hawks, all from Kirschner:

  • Atlanta didn’t receive any legitimate sign-and-trade offers for John Collins before re-signing him for five years at $125MM. Kirschner suggests that the Hawks may have been bidding against themselves by giving Collins that much, but they’re still happy to keep an important part of their starting lineup.
  • The Hawks are talking to Kevin Huerter about an extension, but Kirschner doesn’t expect anything to be resolved until closer to the start of the season. He believes it’s likely that the team will decide to let Huerter become a restricted free agent, just like it did with Collins, and hope to work out a new contract next summer.
  • Reddish and De’Andre Hunter will both be eligible for rookie scale extensions next offseason, which will affect the Hawks’ other financial decisions. Kirschner sees Hunter as an ideal backcourt partner for Trae Young, if he can recover from his second meniscus surgery, so he figures to be the Hawks’ priority. Danilo Gallinari only has a $5MM guarantee for 2022/23 in the final year of his contract, so Kirschner expects him to be on the trade market at some point.

GM Believes Hawks Have Become Free Agent Destination

President of basketball operations Travis Schlenk believes the Hawks are now a destination for top free agents and All-Star level players seeking a trade, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes.

“I think last year kind of put us back on the NBA map as far as a destination,” he said. “Those who want to get traded, they want to go somewhere they think they can win. And I think now that perception of us is out there, because we do have a young core that did show success in the playoffs. So the hope would be when a star player does ask to be traded, we’ll be one of the destinations he’ll be open to coming to.”

Acquiring a second star to pair with Trae Young could be somewhat difficult, though Schlenk sees it as a possibility.

“I still think when you look at the depth of our roster and the young talent that we have, we don’t have draft assets like we have in the past anymore, but we now have guys under contract that you could match some of the bigger salaries,” he said.

The Hawks have one spot open on the 15-man roster, but Schlenk doesn’t plan to fill it right away. The team is close to the luxury tax, so when a 15th player is added, it will likely be on a non-guaranteed deal.

However, if Atlanta is in title contention again, owner Tony Ressler won’t mind paying the tax, according to Schlenk.

“Certainly, Tony is willing to pay the tax if we are going to be a contender,” Schlenk said. “I’m probably more conscious of it than Tony is, to be honest with you. It’s my job to manage his money. He’s got a lot more of it than I do, so I worry about it more than he does.”

Another order of business that the Hawks would like to take care of before the start of next season is reaching an extension agreement with Kevin Huerter, according to Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He’s one of the NBA players eligible for a rookie scale extension.

The talks should heat up next week, Spencer adds.

Hawks Notes: Prunty, J. McMillan, Workouts, Collins

Joe Prunty and Jamelle McMillan are expected to become part of Nate McMillan‘s revamped coaching staff with the Hawks, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Prunty, who began working as an NBA assistant in 1996, has spent time with a total of seven different teams and briefly served as the interim head coach of the Bucks during the 2017/18 season. Prunty, who last coached in the NBA in 2018/19 as a Suns assistant, was the head coach of the Team USA squad that played in the AmeriCup qualifiers earlier this year. He and Nate McMillan worked together in Portland from 2008-10.

Jamelle McMillan, who is Nate’s son, has spent most of his career with the Pelicans, including several years as an assistant under Alvin Gentry. He joined the Suns for a season in 2018/19 before rejoining the Pelicans, but was let go in 2020 when Stan Van Gundy was hired by New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

Hawks Rumors: Collins, Huerter, Young, Reddish, Fields

There are still some people in the Hawks‘ front office who have concerns about John Collins‘ defensive abilities and may not be in favor of offering the restricted free agent a full maximum-salary contract this offseason, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

However, Collins – who never seriously considered Atlanta’s four-year, $90MM+ extension offer last year – played a key role in the Hawks’ deep playoff run and may ultimately force the club’s hand, Fischer says. Many league personnel expect Collins to re-sign with Atlanta, Fischer adds.

Collins isn’t the only Hawks starter eligible for a new long-term contract this summer. Kevin Huerter can receive a rookie scale extension starting in August, and there’s a belief around the league that the team will try to get something done with him, according to Fischer. Huerter’s strong season and postseason has solidified his place in the team’s plans — the Hawks shopped him in trade talks as recently as the 2020 offseason, Fischer notes.

Of course, Trae Young is also extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, and Fischer says there’s no doubt the team’s leading scorer will receive a maximum-salary offer. The only question is how much it will ultimately be worth — a standard max extension for Young projects to pay about $168MM over five years, but he and the Hawks will likely negotiate Rose Rule language that would increase the value to as much as $201MM+ if he earns an All-NBA spot next season.

Here’s more from Fischer on the Hawks:

  • Cam Reddish‘s impressive four-game run in the Eastern Conference Finals (12.8 PPG on .528/.643/.800 shooting) will give the Hawks a lot to think about this summer. According to Fischer, multiple rival front offices were hoping Reddish would be a buy-low option in trade talks, but that may no longer be the case.
  • Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields continues to draw interest from rival teams, including the Celtics as a possible GM under new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, Fischer reports. If the Hawks were to promote Fields to GM in their own front office, Celtics VP of player development Allison Feaster may be the leading candidate to become Boston’s general manager, per Fischer.
  • Nate McMillan‘s “gruffer, old-school approach” contributed to his exit in Indiana, but he has changed his tone with the Hawks, taking a patient approach with the club’s younger players, including Young, says Fischer. “He’s reinvented himself, which is rare,” one team scout said. “You give him a lot of credit.”

Eastern Notes: Garland, Huerter, Dragić, KD

Cavaliers guard Darius Garland exhibited significant growth in his second NBA season, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, and his ceiling rose accordingly. “I think he can be an All-Star,” assistant coach Greg Buckner told head coach J.B. Bickerstaff during the club’s abbreviated 2020 training camp. “You don’t throw that out too many times, but there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do on offense. The talent is there. I think he’s going to be great. He’s going to be special. He’s one of those guys that can really take you far in the playoffs down the road.”

“He’s super talented,” said assistant coach J.J. Outlaw of the Cavaliers guard, who saw his output develop across the board during the 2020/21 season. “He has really, really good court vision, which is one of the reasons all of his teammates love playing with him. I feel good about where he is. I feel good about the work he’s put in.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • Hawks reserve shooting guard Kevin Huerter, the No. 19 pick out of Maryland in 2018, carved out a starring role in a critical Game 7 series during Atlanta’s second-round series against the Sixers, per Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Huerter, eligible for a contract extension during the 2021 offseason, put up 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting to help get the team through to the Eastern Finals. “We’ve all seen his skillset he possesses and how he plays the game, mentally and cerebrally,” Hawks power forward John Collins said. “But it’s really about confidence for Kev. It’s grown.”
  • The Heat will have to decide whether or not to pick up the $19.5MM team option on the contract of longtime point guard Goran Dragić for the 2021/22 season, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Though Dragić was a key part of the team’s surprising run to the 2020 NBA Finals, he regressed during his age-34 season in 2020/21, and the Heat, led by 2020 All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, were swept out of the first round of the 2021 playoffs. Winderman contends that declining the option could help the Heat carve out space for further roster improvements.
  • It was recently revealed that Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant intends to suit up for Team USA during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Though that choice may appear strange, given the fact that health problems have limited Durant to appearing in just 35 of a possible 144 regular season games during his first two seasons with Brooklyn, Ian O’Connor of the New York Post posits that Durant’s clear hunger for a third Olympic gold medal should encourage Nets fans that he continues to pine for more championship hardware.

Southeast Notes: Westbrook, Evans, Reddish, Huerter, Heat Arena

Russell Westbrook said he’s been embraced by the Wizards organization and the fans in the Washington, D.C. area, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “It’s been great,” he said. “The city, the team, the coaches; everybody has kind of welcomed me and my family with open arms. That’s all you can ask for.” Westbrook has two more seasons left on his contract. He’ll make $44.2MM next season and holds a $47MM option for the 2022/23 season.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Dr. Katherine Evans has been named VP of research & information systems for the Wizards as well as the G League’s Go-Go and WNBA’s Mystics, according to a team press release. Evans is the first woman to head the research or analytics department of an NBA franchise. Prior to joining the Wizards, Dr. Evans served as the director of strategic research for the Raptors.
  • The Hawks could be adding another player to their rotation in the second round. Cam Reddish, who has been sidelined by right Achilles soreness, has progressed to full participation in practices the last two days, including live action, according to a team press release. Following upcoming five-on-five full-court scrimmages, he will be reviewed once again. Reddish has not played since February 21.
  • The Hawks ought to lock up Kevin Huerter with a rookie scale extension this offseason, even if he remains on the second unit, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic opines. Huerter’s perimeter shooting and ability to guard multiple positions gives the Hawks plenty of lineup flexibility, Kirschner notes. A contract extension similar to the one Luke Kennard received from the Clippers (worth up to $64MM over four years) would make sense, considering Huerter is a better all-around player, Kirschner adds.
  • The Heat will be playing in the same building but it has a new name. After a long run as AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat’s home will be called FTX Arena, the team tweets.

Hawks Notes: Capela, McMillan, Huerter, Arena Capacity

Clint Capela is in a new position as he prepares for his first playoff series with the Hawks, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Capela was always one of the younger guys with the Rockets, who reached the playoffs every season he was in Houston. Now at age 27, he is serving as a mentor to Atlanta’s younger players, many of whom are about to have their first playoff experience.

“I really feel like (I’m in) a new role here, that vet role,” said Capela, who was traded to the Hawks at the 2020 deadline, but didn’t get to suit up before the pandemic hit. “So I get to share my experience, and I really feel (listened to) about everything I say. It’s really fun to be part of it.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Coach Nate McMillan insists comments he made this week that drew a $25K fine from the league were “taken out of context,” according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. McMillan seemed to indicate he was concerned the Hawks wouldn’t get a fair shake from the officials in the first-round series against the Knicks because the NBA benefits from having New York in the playoffs. “My intentions were never to suggest any type of bias as it relates to the league and our upcoming playoff series,” McMillan explained. “This type of narrative does not in any way represent me and what I stand for as coach of the Atlanta Hawks.”
  • There is “strong momentum” toward McMillan receiving a long-term contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). No negotiations have taken place yet, Charania adds, but they’re expected to happen after Atlanta’s playoff run ends. McMillan was 27-11 after taking over for Lloyd Price at the start of March, and the Hawks climbed from 10th to fifth place in the East.
  • The Knicks won all three regular season matchups with Atlanta, but Hawks forward Kevin Huerter welcomes the opportunity to face them in the first round, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “We feel really good about ourselves,” Huerter said. “They beat us three times this year, but all three games we could have won. We like the matchup and are ready for the challenge.’’
  • The Hawks will increase seating at State Farm Arena to nearly full capacity for the playoffs, Spencer adds in a separate story. There will be sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans.

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Offseason, Reddish, Collins, Young

Praising the job that interim head coach Nate McMillan has done since replacing Lloyd Pierce on the Hawks‘ sidelines, general manager Travis Schlenk said that McMillan has been especially adept at tweaking the team’s plays to fit specific players’ skills and has been “unbelievably consistent with his messaging,” writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

While it seems like a given that McMillan will be offered Atlanta’s head coaching job on a permanent basis, Schlenk said he has yet to have that conversation with the veteran coach, as Spencer relays.

“Obviously he’s done a great job, I’ve said that publicly. I’ve told Nate that, but our stance is still the same,” Schlenk said. “We’re going to let the season play out and then once the season plays out, we’ll sit down and have conversations. But to this point, short of me telling him he’s doing a great job, we haven’t had any more in-depth conversations.

“That’s quite frankly the way Nate likes it and wants to do it as well. We’re obviously extremely pleased with the job he has done; I have no problem saying that… But we haven’t had any conversations.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Asked about the possibility of bringing back largely the same roster for next season, Schlenk said he wouldn’t be opposed to that, though he acknowledged that a few changes could be coming, according to Spencer. “Every free agency, draft, we’ll add players through the draft, we have two picks this year. And then free agency and the trade season,” Schlenk said. “But listen, if this same group came back, it wouldn’t bother me at all. But we’ll have to see how the draft and free agency play out.”
  • Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) is able to conduct unrestricted individual workouts and is participating in team practices on a limited basis, according to the Hawks, who said the swingman will be reassessed in 10-14 days. Reddish isn’t expected to have a real role even if he’s able to return before the Hawks’ playoff run ends, but Schlenk said the plan is to have him play for Atlanta’s Summer League squad in August, as Spencer details.
  • Asked about the Hawks’ top offseason priorities, Schlenk identified John Collins‘ restricted free agency and the team’s two draft picks as the most important matters to sort out, according to Spencer. The Hawks’ GM also mentioned Lou Williams‘ unrestricted free agency and Kris Dunn‘s player option decision as issues to address.
  • Trae Young will likely receive a new deal from the Hawks this summer, but Schlenk was noncommittal when asked about the players who are eligible for rookie scale extensions. “To be honest, I haven’t even really talked with any of (Young’s) people yet about any of that stuff,” Schlenk said, per Spencer. Kevin (Huerter) and Trae are eligible. We’ll certainly look to talk to their groups at the appropriate time.”

Injury Notes: Hornets, Huerter, Warren, DSJ, Bagley

The Hornets will see if LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk are ready for game action during their off days Thursday and Friday, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Ball had surgery March 23 on his fractured right wrist, while Monk has been sidelined since April 1 with a sprained ankle. Both players will take part in 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 scrimmages over the next two days.

The news isn’t as encouraging for Gordon Hayward, Bonnell adds. He’s still wearing a protective boot on his injured right foot and there’s no timetable for him to start working out. “Gordon is not there yet,” coach James Borrego said.

Here are some more injury-related notes and updates:

  • The Hawks are getting a second opinion on Kevin Huerter‘s sprained left shoulder, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Huerter underwent an MRI this week, but the results haven’t been announced.
  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren, who will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, began jogging today on a treadmill, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Coach Nate Bjorkgren called it “a big step” for the 27-year-old forward.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. hasn’t been able to practice lately and the Pistons don’t have a timeline for him to return from left knee soreness, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “That’s why it’s so important that Killian (Hayes) came back,” said coach Dwane Casey. “… It’s unfortunate that he’s been hurt, but injury is something you have to deal with.”
  • Marvin Bagley III could return soon from his hand injury, Kings coach Luke Walton tells James Ham of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Bagley has participated in some 3-on-3 games and may be ready to start playing in the next few days.