The Atlanta Hawks went into the 2014 NBA offseason and Free Agency with the coveted ability to not have to do a great deal in terms of moves and still undoubtedly be better next season. With the return of a healthy Al Horford next season, the Hawks under head coach Mike Budenholzer have a chance to be much better than a sub-.500 team that barely made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
However, that didn’t stop the Hawks from making some moves this offseason. They’ve done a few things to stand-pat this summer, namely reportedly re-signing guard Shelvin Mack to a three-year deal. Reportedly the Hawks are also keying in on the task of re-signing restricted free agent forward Mike Scott, who the Hawks saw flurries of solid play from late last season. Both moves keep the Hawks young and talented on their bench.
Arguably the biggest move they made this past summer was one that many deem rather questionable. Atlanta agreed to a sign-and-trade that landed them veteran free agent Thabo Sefolosha on the wing. While that’s not a bad deal alone, the fact that they gave up Lou Williams and prospect Lucas Nogueira to get the deal done.
Williams was an odd fit with the Hawks in Budenholzer’s mold, meaning that seeing him go isn’t the worst of ideas. However, the loss of a promising prospect and fan-favorite in Nogueira is a bit troubling when all the team got in return was a wing that showed major decline last season and couldn’t stay on the floor in the postseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Moving forward, though, the Hawks also cleared some space on their roster by letting Cartier Martin walk in free agency and waiving veteran John Salmons. Letting Salmons go isn’t an awful decision as it’s been a while since his last relevant moment. Martin certainly isn’t a superstar either, but he did have moments for Atlanta last season. It’s clear, though, that the goal was to get younger in terms of their role players, focusing more on upside.
Outside of all of this, the Hawks were also able to pick up Kent Bazemore in free agency as well as Adreian Payne, Walter Tavares and Lamar Patterson in the draft. Bazemore showed signs of developing into a backcourt asset last season and Atlanta is wise to try and capitalize on that. Moreover, Payne could be a player perfect for Budenholzer’s system with the way he can stretch the floor and play traditional big-man roles.
As a whole, the Hawks weren’t incredibly active this offseason with most of their moves not likely to have a major impact on them for next season. However, that may have been the point for a team that’s biggest addition is getting one of the most criminally underrated big men in Horford back and healthy in their lineup for next season.
Final Grade: B