Now that the Atlanta Hawks’ season has ended and we’ve entered into a lull for most teams until the draft and free agency speculation starts to ramp up, it’s a good time to look at the team’s salary cap situation headed into next season.
As of right now the Hawks have about $42.5 million in guaranteed money for next season as the cap will rise to around $63.2 million. Gustavo Ayon, Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott are all up for qualifying offers. A qualifying offer is similar to a team option which gives a team total control over whether or not a player returns but differs because if a team offers a qualifying offer to a player they become a restricted free agent and other teams can offer them a contract. The Hawks would still the ability to match the contract however.
Both Mack and Scott became invaluable to this team’s success down the pike and it would be a surprise if the team did not extend them offers. Ayon however missed about half the season due to injury and was really on the team just to be a big body; so in all likelihood he won’t be returning.
The other two, Pero Antic and Mike Muscala, both have multi-year deals but are unguaranteed next year. Even more so than Mack and Scott, Pero Antic become a starter when Al Horford went down and his ability to stretch the floor was crucial for the team’s spacing and 3-point attack which nearly helped them to upset the Pacers. It would be shocking if the team was to not pick him up. Muscala, a second round pick from last season, came over in February due to the slew of injuries and averaged 10.8 minutes during the season. In all likelihood they keep him because he’s on a cheap unguaranteed deal and he can play spot minutes throughout the regular season. But he’s also not part of this team’s long term plans and so it wouldn’t be much of a loss if he wasn’t brought back.
For as well as Elton Brand played, his contract was for $4 million and if the team were to re-sign him it would rise to $4.8 million and so he probably won’t be around next season. Meanwhile the Paul Millsap deal should still lead to an outstanding warrant for GM Danny Ferry’s arrest for theft.