Free Agency Grades: Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks were one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA this offseason. With a big chunk of cap space, the Hawks made it rain in an attempt to chase a playoff spot next season.
Here are the signings the Hawks made in free agency, and how each player fits the mold of what Atlanta is trying to build:
Danilo Gallinari signs 3-year, $61.5 million deal
It was a surprise to see Gallinari sign with the Hawks, considering he had talked about how he is getting older and hinted at taking a pay cut to sign with a contender.
Instead, Gallo inked a deal with Atlanta, where he could be coming off the bench behind John Collins. Gallinari, a capable scoring forward and definite starter in this league, evidently went for the larger contract over an increased role with another team.
The Hawks were one of the few teams with cap space this offseason, and Gallinari cashed in. At nearly $20 million a year, this is a slight overpay, but Gallo is still a very good scorer and addition to any team. Plus, the final year of his deal is only partially guaranteed.
The Hawks are not a premier free agent destination, so given the situation they were in, they did well with this signing. Not only does Gallinari provide veteran leadership for a young and struggling Hawks team, but he solidifies the bench unit as Atlanta will look to make a push for the playoffs. His contract could also be used to land a bigger star somewhere down the line.
Rajon Rondo signs 2-year, $15 million deal
At this point in his NBA career, Rondo understands that his role is going to be in a prominent bench role. Backing up Trae Young and playing alongside him in small spurts will show us how Rondo can strive both with and without the ball.
Last season’s playoffs showed just how well Rondo can play in this role. Just ask Lebron James.
This is a good value contract for a respected and very serviceable veteran in Rondo. An annual cost of $7.5 million isn’t much for a Hawks team in desperate need of poise at the end of games.
Rajon Rondo is one of the greatest basketball minds in the league today. After his stellar postseason play with the champion Lakers, Rondo was certainly going to be heavily sought after. Rondo will provide great mentorship to rising star Trae Young and will help a young Hawks team find their niche on both ends of the floor.
Kris Dunn signs 2-year, $10 million deal
Trae Young might be an electric offensive weapon, but he severely lacks on defense. Kris Dunn is the glue that fixes this dilemma in Atlanta’s backcourt. A pesky on-ball defender, Dunn will be a fantastic fit next to Young.
Getting Dunn for an annual value of $5 million per season is a bargain. It greatly improves the Hawks backcourt as the team looks to return to the playoffs.
Dunn will fit in well with Trae Young, Rajon Rondo, or Kevin Huerter should Atlanta decide to play Dunn at point guard. His defensive knack and ability to get into passing lanes will be a critical part of what the Hawks hope is a much-improved defense.
Bogdan Bogdanovic signs 4-year, $72 million deal
Bogdanovic can come in and immediately provide the Hawks with much-needed scoring. The offensive load was heavily carried by Trae Young last season, but with Bogdanovic, the Hawks will be getting a microwave scorer who can catch fire at any given moment and shoulder the scoring.
While the four-year $72 million contract may not be considered a bargain, it is certainly not an overpay. To obtain a free agent through restricted free agency, you need to throw a hefty deal in hopes that the original team does not match. The Kings let Bogdanovic walk and this was quietly a very good pickup for the price Atlanta paid.
This move will allow Trae Young to play to his strengths more often. While he put up great stats last season, having diverse, reliable options on offense will be critical for the Hawks and help Young grow as a facilitator. Bogdanovic will fit in well with Atlanta.
Solomon Hill signs 1-year minimum deal
Hill will likely not be a key part of the Hawks rotation, and will largely be glued to the bench. He doesn’t do anything to an elite level but can step in if an injury occurs and provide the Hawks with reliable minutes.
The minimum deal for Hill is a good value for him at this point in his career. With John Collins due for an extension and after splurging with Gallinari and Bogdanovic, the Hawks needed cheap veteran contracts such as this one to round out the roster.
Barring something unforeseen. Hill will likely not see heavy minutes this season. For the value though, Hill will prove to be a good signing because of his impact off the court and the intangibles he’ll provide a young Hawks lineup.