2013 NBA Free Agency: Atlanta Hawks Still Want a Big Man, Targeting Two at the Moment

By Ryan Heckman

With the Atlanta Hawks moving on this summer having lost the sweepstakes for Dwight Howard, they are on a quest to find a big man yet. Two of their top targets overall right now are Andrew Bynum and Nikola Pekovic, both who are drawing interest from multiple teams.

This week, Bynum has already met with the Cleveland Cavaliers and both the Hawks and Dallas Mavericks are next. Pekovic, meanwhile, has received an official contract offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves in effort to get him to stay with the team.

Both guys would be legitimate options for the Hawks, but Pekovic could wind up being the surest thing out of the two. It is unclear whether he will accept the offer to stay in Minnesota and it could depend on what the Hawks could offer him.

Pekovic wasn’t healthy for the entire year last season, but for a good majority of it. Of course, Bynum sat out all season long due to nagging knee injuries that he wound up having surgeries to fix. He is now nearly ready to prepare for the upcoming season, physically, but first needs a team.

The Cavs offered Bynum a two-year contract worth $12 million per year with a team option in the second year. This may be tough for Atlanta to top right away, considering they can’t offer as much in the first season. They could, however, choose to offer a long-term deal.

This is where I struggle to find the sense in Bynum for the Hawks. He has not been healthy for most of his career and hasn’t played in a game in over a year now. It would be tough to convince most fans that he is worth a lucrative, long-term contract.

For that reason alone, I would want Pekovic if I am Atlanta. He is a proven option offensively and isn’t too shabby on the defensive end either. Bynum wouldn’t be a terrible choice if they could get him to come on cheaper than the Cavaliers, assuming their sales pitch works, but I highly doubt that happens.

At this point, we will have to see where the week takes Atlanta and watch how their pursuit of a big man unfolds. They are not alone in competing for these two centers, and very well could wind up empty-handed. Hopefully for their sake, that doesn’t happen.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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