Atlanta Hawks considered ‘top suitor’ for former $78M All-Star in FA

The Atlanta Hawks could choose to lean into their strength rather than try to re-invent the wheel. Instead of trying to configure a defense around Tray Young, they might opt ​​to fill out a proper offense around him. It would not be the first time we have seen a team simply try to outscore their opponent in shootouts on a nightly basis.

Last season, they boasted the second-ranked offensive rating in the NBA, per Cleaning the Glass. But their defensive rating was just 26th.

And yet, in the playoffs, the Miami Heat were easily able to neutralize that offense. After averaging 113.9 points per game in the regular season, the Hawks averaged just 97.4 points in the postseason – ahead of only the Chicago Bulls who also lost in five games.

Interestingly, it’s Bulls guard Zach LaVine that the Hawks could look to for what they seek.

Atlanta Hawks expected to meet with Bulls guard Zach Lavine in free agency

NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson Nearly broke the internet in Chicago when he acknowledged that LaVine re-signing with the Bulls in free agency was “no longer considered the slam dunk it once was”. To be fair, though, LaVine has said from the very beginning in his exit interview that he would explore all of his options.

Per Johnson, the Hawks are indeed one of those options.

This much is certain: His return to the Bulls no longer is considered the slam dunk it once was…What’s certain is that league gossip throughout this week has linked LaVine to at least four teams — Lakers, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Hawks — with almost certainly more to follow.

That is enough to perk up your ears. But Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer’s latest report will certainly add more fuel to the fire.

Few teams outside of Chicago can offer LaVine both the maximum salary and the alpha dog scoring role he is said to covet, but sign-and-trade options could deliver him to any number of destinations…Along with Atlanta, Portland is most often mentioned as a top LaVine suitor.

This is a full four-alarm alert. Especially considering the Hawks’ current cap situation.

They are currently projected to be roughly $17.2 million above the tax line next season, per’s Roster Manager. They do have various ways to get below that at their disposal. But they will still be hurting for actual cap space.

Acquiring LaVine would require a sign-and-trade as Fischer noted. The Hawks are capable of putting together one of the more attractive ones.

Bulls Get

John Collins

De’Andre Hunter

1st Round Pick(s)

Would a package of John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, and the 16th overall pick entice the Bulls? It could work financially.

LaVine would still have to make the Hawks his choice. But the Bulls are in need of size, rebounding, and defense. They could be getting all three with this package.

The Hawks would be landing another star to pair with Young, though, defensive questions would only grow without Hunter on the roster. Still, LaVine averaged 24.4 points per game last season as the second option in Chicago while battling through thumb and knee injuries.

His role is important as it is believed to be part of the reason he is exploring his options.

It is also important to note that Fischer notes the Bulls are still the favorites for the two-time All-Star’s services.

But with a point guard such as Young, who led the league in total assists as well as total points this past season, that should not be an issue. LaVine would get ample opportunities to score.

Especially if he and the staff follow through on getting him to operate off the ball more often next season.

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