The top three picks in the 2019 NBA Draft inked lucrative rookie-scale contract extensions early in the process, with Zion Williamson re-upping in New Orleans, Ja Morant securing the bag in Memphis, and R.J. Barrett sticking around New York despite trade rumblings. However, the No. 4 pick took things all the way to the extension deadline on Monday, October 17 at 6:00 pm ET. In fact, the Atlanta Hawks and De’Andre Hunter barely got a deal done under the wire, with word breaking from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski two full hours after the deadline that the former Virginia forward agreed to a four-year deal worth $95 million — with $5 million of that being reported as incentives with a base of $90 million.
At the 6 PM ET buzzer: Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter has agreed on a four-year, $95 million contract extension, his agents Thad Foucher and Joe Smith of @Wassbasketball tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/mDm6hZTosm
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 18, 2022
Source: The Hawks have signed De'Andre Hunter to a four-year contract. The contract is $90 million guaranteed with up to $5 million in incentives. Salaries start at just over $20 million per season and escalate from there.
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) October 18, 2022
Unlike the top three picks or players like Darius Garland, Tyler Herro, or Jordan Poole, Hunter has not enjoyed a full-fledged breakout season in Atlanta. He did perform at a very high level in 2020-21, boosting his efficiency and averaging 15.4 points per game, but Hunter was only able to play 23 games that season. From there, Hunter struggled overall in 2021-22 before showing flashes of his two-way potential in a playoff series loss to the Miami Heat.
While $5 million of the deal is in incentives, it is a considerable investment on the team side for a player that hasn’t strung together a full season of high-end production. At the same time, Hunter is a 6’8 forward with two-way appeal and, with every team in the NBA seeking that skill set at the position, a big season in 2022-23 could have propelled Hunter well into the nine-figure range on a restricted free agent deal.
With this move now on the books, the Hawks are pouring even more money into a core that now includes Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela, John Collins, and others at eight-figure annual prices. Atlanta faces big-time expectations this season after the Murray addition, but Hunter is a key to the team’s present and future plans, and he will be paid like it over the next four years.