The days leading up to the trade deadline is probably one of the most intense few days on the basketball calendar. In many ways it’s a waypoint indicating the direction a franchise is moving. For some, they go all in and hope to make this year the year. Others wave the white flag and start to pack it up in the hopes that next season will be better. And of course a lot of teams just stay pat.
As it currently stands the Atlanta Hawks don’t seem too determined to make any moves although this shouldn’t be too surprising. As Grantland’s Zach Lowe noted, most people probably wouldn’t have an idea any way due to the “radio silence” coming from the General Manager Danny Ferry. Coming into the season it was the widespread opinion that Miami and Indiana would occupy the top two spots and would meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Essentially there wasn’t (and isn’t) any real reason that any team in the East can contend with them.
Even though the Hawks didn’t have championship expectations, the Al Horford injury dashed any chances at being a dark-horse candidate for a deep run in the East. So now there really should be no reason to expect them to make it out of the first round. Both a blessing and a curse for Atlanta Hawks basketball is that as the team is currently constructed there’s not a whole lot of fans that really care whether they win or lose. But due to the team’s recent streak of success in terms of making it to the playoffs the Hawks don’t have the “win now” mandate that teams like Washington or Cleveland have.
This means that there isn’t really any reason to make any moves at this point. With Eastern Conference as bad as it is the Hawks can basically coast the rest of the season and will likely make it. The Hawks also don’t have too many pieces that would be worth trading either. Horford has essentially been tapped as the franchise guy and no team is going to look at him with his current injury, Jeff Teague has a veto on any trade, and Kyle Korver could be a nice addition to a team looking for a two-way shooter like the Thunder but there are younger legs on the market like Arron Afflalo.
Paul Millsap’s deal has been labeled a steal and most teams would definitely be interested in the first time All-Star. However, the Hawks aren’t likely going to find any suitors who could likely give a suitable return in value. It’s always important to remember with trades the importance of trying to get back equal value to what you give. Other than these four players there aren’t many players worth looking at or deals that need to be made. Switching Mike Scott for Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn who has the same salary this year could be a possible move if the Hawks wanted to bolster a thin frontcourt with Horford out and if they’re worried about Pero Antic injuries resulting in the need to give serious minutes to Elton Brand and Gustavo Ayon. But this would be a lateral move and wouldn’t accomplish much for the Hawks.
The other issue with the major trade chips for the Hawks is that it’s too late to get worse. Milwaukee, Orlando and Boston all have a significant lead in the tank race and so the Hawks would likely still finish middle of the pack. At this point the best option it seems is to just stay the course and work with what the team has.