The Atlanta Hawks have big plans this 2020-21 NBA season and the plausible goal is to make the playoffs. The last time they advanced beyond the regular season was during the 2016-17 season. Their best finish was that run in 2014-15 where they reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
Looking at their roster right now, the Hawks have a formidable group. Trae Young leads the pack but Lloyd Pierce knows that he could be a player away from getting things together.
Atlanta has cap space to spare, roughly around $43 million. Add the fact that they have the rights to the sixth overall pick, all the Hawks can do now is try to dangle that spot to interested takers, The Ringer reported. If not offer comes, the Hawks could use that to pick another young gun in the upcoming NBA draft, someone who could be a sleeper.
Who is a more valuable free agent, Jae Crowder or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope? https://t.co/IVhpBu1pVX pic.twitter.com/FfOqjauLBj — Off the Glass (@otgbasketball) October 22, 2020
Trading up is also an option with teams like the Golden State Warriors open to deals. But rather than delve into that, it may be in the best interest of the Hawks to go for a tested superstar instead. At least two names come to mind – Gordon Hayward and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Young has been leading the charge for the Hawks but needs help. There are young players in the mix trying to provide that. The list includes John Collins, De’Andre Hunter Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish. They also have able big men to man the slot in Clint Capella and Dewayne Dedmon. Hence, adding another scorer could be what they need.
Hayward would be an interesting target, especially if the All-Star forward opts out of his deal with the Boston Celtics. The only problem tied to the 30-year-old is his injury history. The past years have seen him out of action time and again although he remains a proven offensive threat.
If not Hayward, the Hawks could take a chance on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The 27-year-old was part of the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers champion squad, considered by most as one of the key players who helped in the NBA Finals. KCP has opted out of his deal with the Lakers and is expected to seek higher pay.
The Hawks could use part of their available salary budget on KCP, higher than the $8.4 million he was supposed to make for the 2020-21 season. Atlanta could at least double or even triple that and leave room for another star acquisition.