The Hawks were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, July 3. Their “Cinderella story” playoff run has come to an end, which poses the question: what is next for this young Atlanta Hawks team?
The elephant in the room. John Collins is now a restricted free agent.
A restricted free agent in the NBA is somewhat similar to a franchise tag in the NFL. In this scenario, JC can accept an offer from another team, however, if the Atlanta Hawks match that offer, Collins would be contractually obligated to remain with the Hawks.
John Collins wanted a max contract extension – projected to be worth $125,903,904 if for four years – before last month’s deadline. The Hawks apparently came fairly close. That’s a large extension to reject. Collins‘ four-year rookie-scale deal was worth just $11,059,862.nba.nbcsports.com
Collins believes he is worth top dollar. If Atlanta won’t pay, another club will.
Free Agency If John Collins leaves
If John Collins signs a lucrative deal with another team that Atlanta will not match, the Hawks will be left with a gaping hole at the PF position. Atlanta will be looking for any trade targets that will strengthen the team and put them in a position for another playoff run in 2022.
Notable free agents to target include Lauri Markkannen and Kelly Oubre. Oubre, 25, would add to the Hawks’ young core and would fill the void in the vacant PF slot. Last season, Oubre averaged 15 points and 44% FG in 50 games played. Markkanen, 23, put up 13 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Either would be viable replacements if Collins leaves the team.
Free Agency If John Collins stays
If John Collins stays with the Atlanta Hawks, he would most likely be getting a max contract. A max contract is the most amount of money a team is allowed to pay a specific player and is typically a percentage of the team’s salary cap. In Collins’ case, it would probably be about 25% of the total salary cap for multiple years.
Atlanta Hawks Salary Cap
|Danilo Gallinari||32||$19,500,000||$20,475,000||$21,450,000||Sign and Trade||$44,975,000|
|Bogdan Bogdanović||28||$18,000,000||$18,000,000||$18,000,000||$18,000,000||Cap Space||$54,000,000|
|Clint Capela||27||$16,000,000||$17,103,448||$18,206,897||Bird Rights||$51,310,345|
|Tony Snell||29||$12,178,571||Cap space||$12,178,571|
|Lou Williams||34||$8,000,000||Cap Space||$8,000,000|
|De’Andre Hunter||23||$7,422,000||$7,775,400||$9,835,881||1st Round Pick||$15,197,400|
|Trae Young||22||$6,571,800||$8,326,471||1st Round Pick||$14,898,271|
|Onyeka Okongwu||20||$5,813,640||$6,104,280||$6,395,160||$8,109,063||1st Round Pick||$11,917,920|
|Kris Dunn||27||$4,767,000||$5,005,350||Room Exception||$4,767,000|
|Cam Reddish||21||$4,458,000||$4,670,160||$5,954,454||1st Round Pick||$9,128,160|
|John Collins||23||$4,137,302||1st Round Pick||$4,137,302|
|Kevin Huerter||22||$2,761,920||$4,253,357||1st Round Pick||$7,015,277|
|Solomon Hill||30||$2,174,318||Cap Space||$2,174,318|
|Brandon Goodwin||25||$1,701,593||Minimum Salary|
|Bruno Fernando||22||$1,517,981||$1,782,621||Cap space||$3,300,602|
|Skylar Mays||23||Two-Way Contract|
|Nathan Knight||23||Two-Way Contract|
Summer League will be critical for the Hawks this year. The Hawks have several up-and-coming stars that will be participating, as they look to take their games to the next level.
What is Summer League?
Each NBA team gets several games to try out different rosters before the start of the NBA season. Often, teams will try their youngest players that are fighting for a roster spot. This gives players that are low on the totem pole a chance to compete for minutes, as well as a roster spot the following season.
The 16th annual MGM Resorts NBA Summer League will feature all 30 NBA teams playing five games apiece during the 10-day, 75-game event. After every team plays four games, the two teams with the best records from the first four games will meet in the Championship Game on Aug. 17.NBA.com
Why is this so important for the Hawks?
Cam Reddish spent much of the year battling an Achilles injury. The young two-way player was drafted tenth overall in 2019. This summer event gives him more time to develop, and more experience playing with other potential bench players before the 2021 season.
This is a great opportunity to build chemistry between Cam Reddish and Onyeka Okongwu. Okongwu was drafted sixth overall out of USC and made a name for himself in Atlanta this year. During the regular and post-season, he earned his minutes with rebounding and points stats and proved he is a suitable backup for Clint Capela at the center position.
We also saw glimpses of Skylar Mays and Nathan Knight this year. Both have significant potential to make the roster as depth pieces.
Atlanta Hawks 2021-2022 Season
The Hawks have a lot of potential going into the season. After battling injuries throughout their deep roster last year, they look forward to the 2021 season to come back fully healthy and ready to be a top 5 team in the eastern conference. I have a lot of faith in this young team to continue to improve, win games, and make another postseason run next year.
Want more NBA content? Click here to see more NBA and sports opinions, news, and more!