Hawks’ 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Playoff Loss
Rob Gray/Associated Press
The Hawks can’t spent much in free agency. According to Spotrac, they have $145,939,507 committed toward the 2022-23 salary cap.
Seven players—Trae Young, John Collins, Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter and De’Andre Hunter—account for over $136 million against the cap alone. Huerter, Young, Collins and Capela are all signed through 2025, with the former three players inked through 2026.
So the Hawks have their core for the foreseeable future in Atlanta.
As noted by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 2022-23 NBA salary cap is $122 million, with the luxury tax level sitting at $149 million.
Unless the Hawks use an exception, they cannot sign any new free agents.
As noted by salary-cap guru Larry Coon in his CBA FAQ, NBA teams can sign someone to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception if sit between the salary-cap number and luxury-tax level.
Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors projected a first-year salary of over $10 million for the non-taxpayer MLE. The taxpayer MLE should be just above $6 million.
Therefore, the Hawks should look into players they can land with an MLE.
Simply put, Atlanta needs help on the defensive end. It’s second in offensive efficiency but No. 23 on the defensive end, per Basketball-Reference. Scoring isn’t hard to come by, with seven regulars scoring 10 or more points per game, but the Hawks’ defensive woes need to be addressed.
These three players can help.
After struggling with the Portland Trail Blazers, Robert Covington shined with the Los Angeles Clippers after a midseason trade, posting 10.6 points on 50.7 percent shooting (45.0 percent from three) and 1.3 steals. He became a three-and-D menace who helped vault the Clips into the playoffs.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of contract he lands. On one hand, he’ll be 32 years old in December, and he played himself out of the starting lineup in Portland; on the other, he looks like a rejuvenated player in L.A., one who could help a contending team for the next few years.
Perhaps Atlanta could come calling unless another team goes over the top for Covington’s services.
Avery Bradley is a plus defender who is listed 33rd among point and shooting guards in defensive real plus-minus, per ESPN.com. He’s also shot 39.0 percent from three-point range.
His career has been marred by injuries, but he managed to play 62 games last season with 45 starts. The 12-year veteran, who turns 32 in November, probably won’t command a monster contract. He signed for just one year and $2,641,691 last year.
Bradley won’t command an MLE-type salary, but the Hawks could likely get him for the biannual exception (a little over $3 million).
The Brooklyn Nets’ jack-of-all-trades can fill in at any position on the court in a pinch, and with the Hawks needing help at guard, he could be of service there. He’s an asset on both ends of the floor and notably shot a career-high 40.5 percent from three-point range this season.
It’s possible Bruce Brown could command more money than the MLE will allow, especially given a hot end to the season that essentially saw him become the Nets’ third option behind Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
If not, though, then the 25-year-old would be a great fit for the Hawks.
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