The Atlanta Hawks exceeded expectations during the NBA playoffs by making an impressive run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Although the team couldn’t get past the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, Trae Young and a cast of complimentary players proved that they’re ready to be perennial contenders.
However, the Hawks are already hitting a crossroads this offseason. The franchise finds itself cap-strapped and approaching a time where it needs to start paying its young talent. Versatile forward John Collins is first on the list, but extensions for Young, Kevin Huerter and De’Andre Hunter are also coming in the foreseeable future.
Because that’s the case, the Hawks may explore trading away at least one emerging player to avoid having to pay him in the future. According to ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony, former Duke star Cam Reddish may be a piece that Atlanta uses to acquire a 2021 first round pick and reset the clock.
“NBA executives say they expect the Hawks to explore restarting the cycle of one of their rookie scale contract players, such as Cam Reddish, in exchange for a first round pick, as it seems unlikely they’ll be able to pay all of their young wing players,” Givony wrote on Twitter.
Givony mentioned the Oklahoma City Thunder as a possible trade partner for Atlanta. The Thunder have a surplus of picks in this year’s draft, so general manager Sam Presti may be looking for a known NBA talent, like Reddish, that could develop while the team continues to build.
“Oklahoma City could be one possible destination with their trade exceptions and No. 18 pick, but there will surely be other options,” Givony continued. “The Hawks have plenty of time to come to a decision on this front.”
Oklahoma City could be one possible destination with their trade exceptions and No. 18 pick, but there will surely be other options. The Hawks have plenty of time to come to a decision on this front.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 25, 2021
Reddish surprised during the Eastern Conference Finals as he returned from injury to give the Hawks productive minutes off the bench. He scored 12.8 points and shot an outstanding 64.3 percent from beyond the arc on 3.5 attempts per game in four appearance for Atlanta during the series against the Bucks. He also stepped up to be one of the Hawks primary wing defenders, despite not having played regularly for months.
Unfortunately for Reddish, he’s flanked by loads of wing talent in Atlanta. Hunter and Huerter have developed into capable NBA starters that can create shots for themselves and others, while Reddish seems to be just behind the curve because of injuries. As a result, he may find himself on the outside looking in when it comes to decision time for the Hawks.
If the Hawks do decide to make a move and want to do so before the draft, they’ll have to make something happen soon. With the first round getting underway on Thursday night, Atlanta may want to explore a deal early this week.