Atlanta Hawks off-season to-do list

Thanks to Spotrac, we have a clear view of the Hawks’ current salary cap situation. Keep in mind that Trae Young’s contract will increase by $30 million once he is rightfully named to an All-NBA team.

The Hawks have Bird rights to Delon Wright and Lou Williams, who will be unrestricted free agents. The team has restricted bird rights for Kevin Knox and restricted early bird rights for Skylar Mays. As a two-way player, Sharife Cooper becomes a restricted free agent. Meanwhile, Gorgui Dieng and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are both unrestricted free agents.

The Hawks have a mid-tier taxpayer exception of $6.39 million, which is awarded annually to teams above the cap and above the luxury tax apron ($155,196,200) and can be used for contracts of a maximum duration of 3 years.

Additionally, they have two trade exceptions – one for $1.78 million via Boston Celtics for the Bruno Fernando trade and another for $1.66 million via New York Knicks for the Solomon Hill trade. Trade Exceptions become available when a team forgoes more salary than they acquire in a trade. The “credit” balance remains an exception that can be used in the following year to acquire salary via trade without giving up additional salary further.

Depth Chart

Changes will be made to the list. How big or small remains to be seen. Also, we don’t know the position played by the Hawks’ first-round pick (16th overall) or if they’ll even keep the pick. My inclination is that they will use the rookie to help fill the roster with a cheap contract.

With nine players currently under contract, the Hawks will inevitably add some new faces this summer. A glaring weak point is the backup playmaker position. This season, Delon Wright has thrived in the role and will likely be rewarded with a contract from another team with deeper pockets. If Wright leaves, it further degrades the team’s depth and perimeter defense.

What the Hawks lack in cap space, they more than make up for in business assets. In addition to draft picks, their roster is designed to cope. One of the main arguments against shaking the team at the trade deadline was the contracts of Clint Capela and Kevin Huerter. Now Capela is eligible for the trade, and the poison pill provision in Huerter’s deal is gone.

If the Hawks want a major shakeup this summer, they can choose one of two ways: consolidate for a star to partner with Trae Young or offload contracts for more versatility. Of course, all of this under the assumption that the organization wants to stay under the luxury tax.

Improvement areas

Defense. Thank you for participating in my TED talk. The Hawks finished the regular season with a bottom-five defensive rating. Almost all teams in the Championship are in the top ten in attacking and defensive ratings. De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Clint Capela have regressed this season, but they’re all capable defenders.

At the other end of the field, the Hawks had the second-highest offensive rating and three-point shooting percentage during the regular season. Unfortunately, the Miami Heat dried up the Hawks’ wet shot in the playoffs. As a result, the Hawks went from 113.9 points per game in the regular season to 97.4 points per game in the playoffs.