The NBA offseason is winding down and the free agency pool is drying up. The Atlanta Hawks were expected to make a more impactful splash, but have signed only Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore. There is approximately $10 million left in cap space for Hawks GM Danny Ferry to play with, and I believe that there is one more move that would make sense in tying up some loose ends for Atlanta.
Many analysts around the league have spoken critically about the signing of Sefolosha. I agree that he was not the headline-breaking signing of the year, but he provides a solid presence on defense. Mike Budenholzer certainly has the firepower around the court to cause havoc on the offensive side, but the same cannot be said for defense. He needs the freedom to adjust his formations without leaving gaping holes.
All sources say that Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack will be re-signed before next season, which I absolutely agree with. They provide young talent off the bench that can create their own shots and drive through the paint. That would leave the question of whether or not to sign Elton Brand, as he is an unrestricted free agent. His contract this past season was a cool $4.5 million and he was decently productive, but I feel the cap space that would be opened in his absence is more valuable.
The only remaining option for the Hawks this offseason is former Dallas Mavericks veteran Shawn Marion. He can provide great defense on multiple positions around the floor. The Hawks would also gain more consistency from Marion by having him play less strenuous minutes, and they can accomplish this by adding support from the bench. Atlanta needs a strong veteran role model to settle and guide the young players coming off the bench.
Furthermore, this move makes financial sense for the aspiring Eastern Conference contenders. The Hawks would have approximately $6-7 million in cap space once deciding to not re-sign Brand. I don’t believe Marion can earn a contract greater than $5 million in this market, so his value would be very equitable for Atlanta.
With the additions of these veterans and the strong upside of Bazemore and Adrian Payne, Atlanta is certainly more solid now than this past season.