5. Atlanta Hawks
This move is the least likely of all ones listed thus far. Much like with the Dallas Mavericks (more on this soon), Middleton would really have to like the situation he’d be in if it meant leaving a contender for an inexperienced, up-and-coming (hopefully?) squad. Losing 53 games this season, the Atlanta Hawks likely need a lot more than Middleton to become a serious threat.
On the other hand, the young trio of Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter is enticing. Young’s passing and shooting ability would set up plenty of open looks for Middleton. Collins’ scoring prowess and impressive efficiency could make Middleton’s job a lot easier. Huerter’s sharpshooting abilities are an essential part of any contending team
Atlanta’s cap situation is the cleanest in the NBA to begin free agency, and that’s without renouncing the rights to any players or making any other moves. With the potential to open up a max slot and then some, could that and the young core be enough to lure Middleton away from the Bucks?
In short: probably not. Young is going to be a very good NBA player and Collins is already one of the more efficient youngsters in recent memory, but Middleton would be taking a huge leap of faith to risk wasting his prime in a rebuild-on-the-fly situation.