Despite making a splashy move to acquire all-star Dejounte Murray last summer, the Atlanta Hawks managed to take a slight step backward. The Hawks finished just 41-41 and while they did push the Boston Celtics to Game 7 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, they still have a long way to go before they are title contenders.
To their credit, they are trying to make that next step this summer. According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, the Atlanta Hawks have been discussing a potential trade for Toronto Raptors All-Star Pascal Siakam. Thus far, Toronto has declined to move their best player, but it appears clear that he is available for the right price. At the moment, DeAndre Hunter and John Collins or Clint Capela have been offered but haven’t been enough to entice the Raptors.
Atlanta’s decision to pursue Siakam is an interesting one since there were rumors that they were considering trading Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Now, it seems that they are determined to form a big three. Adding Siakam would definitely be huge for the Hawks, but even if they landed him, it would appear to be for the short term. Both he and Murray are set to become unrestricted free agents next summer, and re-signing them could cost a combined $250 million over four years.
Factor in Young’s contract, which will pay him $47 million on average over the next 4 seasons, and the Hawks would be among the most expensive teams in the NBA. Yet, despite their pursuit of Siakam, they are simultaneously trying to get out of paying the luxury tax next season. Go figure.
Atlanta can land Pascal Siakam, but it may require them to choose between their stars.
Perhaps, instead of forming a big three with Young, Murray, and Siakam, Atlanta may include Murray in the deal along with Capela. Doing so might be beneficial for both teams, with the Hawks being able to fully offset Siakam’s salary for next season and get off of Capela, for whom they have a replacement in Onyeka Okongwu.
They would also get the best player in the deal, increasing the chances that they could re-sign him. For Toronto, they will need a replacement for Fred VanVleet at point guard, and Murray would provide it. The same goes for Capela, who may be a cheaper replacement for Jakob Poeltl.
In that case, a deal might actually get done, allowing both teams to improve and save money. With the start of free agency just days away, the Hawks should be motivated to get a deal done as soon as possible, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if Toronto is really willing to move on from Siakam.