Atlanta Hawks: Hawks could serve as conduits in future trades

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images /

With several movable contracts, the Atlanta Hawks could serve as a conduit for larger trades.

The Atlanta Hawks sit in an interesting place on one of the more notable days on the NBA calendar.

As of Saturday, most of the players who signed as free agent in the previous offseason are now eligible for trades. It allows teams to get a chance on acquiring that player they just missed out on in free agency, while also allowing another team to get out of a potential mistake.

It’s the true start of the NBA trade and rumor season now that nearly everyone is eligible in a deal.

We’ve already seen one team try to get off of an offseason mistake as the Phoenix Suns tried to trade Trevor Ariza in a failed three-team deal between the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards.

However, the Suns did get a deal done for Ariza on Saturday with the Wizards, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Other teams, like the Los Angeles Lakers, have already been rumored in moving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

For the Atlanta Hawks, this could work to their benefit as a conduit that could help facilitate multi-team trades.

Some teams will be looking to remove a player from their team, others will be looking to add a piece or two for a playoff push.

Atlanta sits squarely in the rare position of being a team who could help make the money match up and use their cap flexibility to acquire additional draft picks or a young player.

Outside of center Miles Plumlee, Atlanta’s roster is plush with decent contracts. Teams looking for a backup big man could look at Alex Len and Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon makes about $7.2 million, which is slightly expensive, but Dedmon is a decent big man who can play solid defense.

As for Len, he comes with an extra season of control at $4.1 million next season but could serve as a cheap option for a team in need of an offensive backup center. Len (25 years old) is younger and cheaper than Dedmon (29), but Dedmon’s defense is the best skill between the two.

Teams in need of a guard could look upon Jeremy Lin and Kent Bazemore as options to trade for. Lin serves as a bit of an injury risk at this stage in his career, but you also know exactly what you’re getting.

Lin is a solid backup point guard who can get the rim and space the floor, currently sporting an effective field goal percentage of 58 percent.

In a league full of two-point guard lineups, Lin could help several teams who could use an offensive punch in the backcourt.

As for Bazemore, he represents the duality of the trade market.

Some teams could look at Bazemore and envision him as one more piece to help during a playoff push, but with Bazemore having a player option for next season, some teams could look to acquire him in hopes of Bazemore declining his option to clear some money off the books in 2019.

Older than you think at 29 years old, Bazemore is still a decent defensive player, ranking 10th among shooting guards in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus statistic. Never an elite defender, Bazemore fits better as a solid defensive player in a good defensive system.

As far as offensive talents, Bazemore is still a solid creator (2.5 assists per game), but his shooting numbers have tailed off.

A career 35 percent 3-point shooter, Bazemore is currently at 30 percent from beyond the arc this season.

There are hopes for him to rebound from his poor start — shooting 33 percent from 3-point range in five games this month — but Bazemore will need to regain form for Atlanta to maximize his trade value in the near future.

The biggest obstacle in trade talks will be his current salary.

At $18 million, Bazemore is a tough contract to match, which probably makes him an ideal candidate for a team who attaches a bad contract to a first-round draft pick to acquire another piece, rather than a normal talent acquisition.

Teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and perhaps Portland Trail Blazers make sense. Both teams have large contracts to make the salaries match and a first-round pick to offer to provide a boost to their rotation.

Personally, I would consider it a small victory if Atlanta could turn Bazemore into a first-round pick.

With nearly every NBA player now eligible to be traded, the movement around the league is expected to pick up.

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Thanks to their status as a rebuilding team, the Atlanta Hawks sit here as a team who could assist in completing multi-team trades, thanks to the contracts they have on the roster.