NBA Draft/Free Agency Preview: Atlanta Hawks in Rebuild Mode
Coming off a rather typical season (by H awks standards) in 2012-2013, the Hawks are seeking to clean house altogether. When GM Danny Ferry came on board in 2011, it was clear that he was going to gut the team of the nonessential players and bring in players that fit his philosophy. Additionally, they let the contract of former head coach Larry Drew expire after the season and hired Mike Budenholzer, formerly on Gregg Popovich’s staff with the San Antonio Spurs.
Ferry constructed things with the idea of shipping out bad contracts (and possibly allowing F Josh Smith to walk in free agency in July) while building around Al Horford and Jeff Teague. The Hawks only have about $18.4 million in committed salary this offseason, so there is room for them to sign several guys to replace the surely-departing Josh Smith, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Additionally, Devin Harris, Zaza Pachulia and Kyle Korver are unrestricted free agents, along with Anthony Tolliver, Shelvin Mack and Jannero Pargo. The team has an option for DeShawn Stevenson as well. Do not expect them to make a run at Dwight Howard, following pronouncements by Howard that he does not want to return to his hometown and sign a maximum contract as he enters the prime years of his career.
Keep an eye on Atlanta from Draft Night until late October. They are going to be central in a lot of talks. With nearly $40 Million in cap space, the Hawks are able to acquire two max players and a couple of other essential pieces with the remaining cap space and the mid-level exception. If the Hawks do not seek to splurge during free agency, they can simply pick up three or four fine pieces and continue to look towards Thursday’s draft for additional help. This is expected to be a rather thin draft, talent-wise, as most of the players beyond the top two or three players are viewed as nothing more than role players.
With the 17th pick in the 2013 Draft, the Hawks could very well be looking for an additional big man so that Horford can cease playing out of position. The Hawks can also use another wing forward, especially if they choose not to re-sign Smith. The Hawks expect G Lou Williams to return healthy from a torn ACL early in last season. In additional to Williams, Teague is emerging, and the team may decide to keep Mack or Pargo in order to solidify the backcourt. If Kyle Korver chooses not to re-sign, the Hawks may also be looking for an outside shooter such as Tim Hardaway, Jr. in the draft.
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