The one thing that Hawks fans should have established at this point is that Travis Schlenk is not afraid to make moves. He has made them early (Three weeks in, he traded Dwight Howard to Charlotte) and made them often (Traded for Carmelo Anthony and bought him out to get Dennis Schroder out) to get the youth movement started in Atlanta.
With these moves plus draft night trades of the number three overall pick and the 34th for future draft picks with the crown jewel being Trae Young, the overall construction of the Hawks is now set in place.
But with any construction site, there must be a clean up. Whether it be the absolving of the previous regime (Mike Budenholzer) or any evidence of the past, there can’t be a new chapter without closing the previous chapter. With the preseason coming in less than two weeks, you can probably count on the Hawks front office to continue to make changes. More likely than not, it will happen in trades. HawksHoop lays out the players that to quote the late great rapper, Craig Mack…”Won’t be around next year!” Why? They could be traded during the season…
Hawks player trade wish number one...Miles Plumlee.
Miles Plumlee was brought in as a part of the Dwight Howard “Buyer’s remorse” deal. Atlanta had just signed Howard to a three year $70.5 million dollar deal that would have the team on the hook for $23.5 million dollars the year Howard was sent packing. A bill that Travis Schlenk had no interest in paying.
With Plumlee, the Hawks received Marco Belinelli (who is in San Antonio after a stint in Philadelphia) and a second round pick.
Here’s what Travis Schlenk had to say about the move at the time courtesy of AJC…
“It is extremely important for our organization that we maintain our flexibility and this trade helps us achieve that critical goal, Schlenk said in the statement. “We appreciate the contributions that Dwight made on the court and in the greater Atlanta community this past season.”
Howard averaging his lowest total in scoring since his rookie year and finding himself of the bench in the fourth quarter during the season and in the season finale in the playoff is not enough for a $23.5 million dollar investment. Especially when the player is complaining in exit interviews…
Howard’s point courtesy again of AJC…
“It hurts,” Howard said at the time. “I’m sure if you wrote the best stories in the world and nobody read your stories and they told you to stop writing and you saw somebody else’s story that wasn’t as good as yours, I’m pretty sure you’d be pissed, too. That’s how it is in basketball.”
Before my ego goes through the roof, thinking “YEAH THAT’S RIGHT!” through the rest of the article...If Howard’s story is worth $23.5 million dollars…
How good was Plumlee’s story?
The Hawks’ price tag to get rid of Howard will tally to $12.4 million dollars a year for the duration of Plumlee’s deal.
Before he donned a Hawks uniform, Plumlee averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds. Last year, Plumlee averaged 4.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. Using Dwight Howard’s analogy, Plumlee’s story amounts to about three sentences and one of them is a fragment.
Nothing against Plumlee and his contributions in a Hawks uniform. But he was not brought in to bring back the glory days of Dikembe Mutumbo. This was an addition by subtraction. Plumlee is getting paid 12.4 million dollars this year. That is by far a easier a pill to swallow than paying 23 million dollars to a center that is going through franchises faster than a postage stamp.
With that being said, Plumlee has outlived his usefulness. His contract was to open flexibility on the books. But with Luol Deng being waived in Los Angeles and Joakim Noah about to suffer the same fate in New York, the next famous toxic contract will possibly be linked to Miles Plumlee. Now that Alex Len, Dewayne Dedmond are present as centers and with a faster, athletic and smaller NBA philosophy, Plumlee does not fit.
Hawks player trade wish number two...DeAndre Bembry
Here’s a shout out to DeAndre Bembry hoping that he stays healthy. Because...Bembry can’t stay healthy. Coming out of college (St.Joseph’s) Bembry was known as an athletic player with a long wingspan that is a hot commodity in the modern NBA. The defensive capability works in Bembry’s favor as well. Only one thing…
A player can’t show these gifts if you are not on the floor.
Bembry’s issue is that he never plays. He’s always hurt. Bembry had to skip the summer league for wrist surgery. With Schlenk not having a distinctive idea of what Bembry brings to the franchise, Bembry had better heal up real quick. 26 games played all of last season does nothing but represent the fact that you are taking up a roster spot. Since Bembry has been in the NBA he has done little but show that the Hawks training staff have been earning their paychecks. Two broken wrists, a tricep and abdominal/groin issues have buried him to the back of the rotation. Couple that with a reckless driving charge driving 128 mph in a 55 speed zone (Really dude?) that shows lack of maturity that the Hawks don’t need. As we have seen from Travis Schlenk, he always has one hand glued to his phone ready to make a deal. If Bembry does not show anything in training camp, his cap friendly rookie contract makes a nice trade sweetener for maybe…
Hawks player trade wish number three...Dewayne Dedmond
Okay, let me hear it...HE PLAYED WELL LAST YEAR!. Okay, Dedmond did play well. Easily his most productive season of his career. Which is why you pull the plug if the opportunity presents itself.
Pay attention to the way Travis Schlenk is building his squad. If you forgot or need a reference, here we go…
This team is going to run HawksHoopers...ALOT! Athleticism is the name of the game in the NBA. Dedmon is part of the old philosophy of Mike Budenholzer when he was in charge. Some were surprised that Dedmond exercised his player option. I wasn’t.
The question going forward for Dedmon and the Hawks is...Is Dedmon talented enough to star or command a distinctive salary in the NBA. Yes, he is a big body. Yes, he can rim protect. But can he be a difference maker and be a major cog in a young franchise like the Hawks’ future? Somebody has to be in the top three when the basketball team is basically in a dumpster fire. Dedmon applies in this scenario.
The good news here is this trade scenario can help both parties.
If Dewayne Dedmon continues to play well, his stock can rise and he can play his way into the eyes of a contending NBA team. One the other hand, Travis Schlenk can take advantage of Dedmon’s solid play and make a deal playing on the fact that Dedmon has an expiring contract and can flip it for future draft picks over the next two or three years. Think of the business plan he used when he dealt Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli to the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline last year. He could do that or make it a nice trade sweetener for maybe…
Hawks player trade wish number four...Kent Bazemore
Let me get to this quick before I lose all credibility in the Hawks fans eyes here. Kent Bazemore as of this writing is the most prized asset the Atlanta Hawks have. But here it is in layman’s terms...He’s probably the only player any NBA team would give anything of value for.
Yes HawksHoopers, even though Bazemore plays hard every night for a team that is destined to lose by twenty points, he needs to move on. As good as he is, will he get the Hawks into contention? No.
It would be a classy move for the Hawks to move Kent Bazemore to a contending team that gives him a chance to contribute for a championship run. Bazemore represents one of the most valuable positions in the NBA as a 3 and D player who can guard multiple positions.
Kent Bazemore has put in the work for this franchise and was on the glory day squad back in 2014-15 squad that won 60 games. All of the other players are gone. Get the picture? It’s not fair to Bazemore who will have his minutes cut with the development plan of Trae Young, Tyler Dorsey and Daniel Hamilton.
This guy is a professional which is the easiest sell for Travis Schlenk over all of the players on this list. Bazemore plays hard, he’s coachable and team oriented. Plus if he gets hot from distance, watch out! Remember, you have to give up something to get something done. I think the Howard trade laid that philosophy out.
Finally, Bazemore does have an inflated contract from the infamous 2016 offseason where plenty of less talented players than Bazemore won the lottery. If the Hawks can shed his salary maybe they can get rid of two by all together as a trade sweetener for…