The Atlanta Hawks are among the most competitive of the five teams that occupy the bottom tier of the NBA this season, but make no mistake, this is still a bad team with a future-facing outlook.
Because of that, the trade deadline will provide an opportunity for contenders to try and deal for the Hawks’ top veterans, in exchange for some kind of young players or draft assets. There are three veterans that will be on the block for Atlanta as trade talks pick up in advance of the February deadline: Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, and Jeremy Lin.
Bazemore is the best of the trio, but also has a large contract that has another year left on it in the form of a $19 million player option he will assuredly pick up. Dedmon is the cheapest and the easiest to make money work with, so one would expect the veteran center to find a new home soon. Lin falls in the middle, as he’s an expiring $13.7 million contract which will require a bit of creativity to match money, but is a much easier deal to move than Bazemore because it doesn’t eat into next season’s cap space.
A number of teams will be interested in the veteran point guard, who is having his most efficient season of his career so far. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Sacramento Kings are among the teams that have called the Hawks about Lin to express their interest.
The Kings are a surprising team in the West this season and seem serious about making a playoff push. Adding Lin as a backup to De’Aaron Fox would be a strong move, and the Kings have the type of assets the Hawks could be interested in. One would expect Zach Randolph or Kosta Koufos’ expiring contracts to be part of the move, paired with a young player like Skal Labissiere who has fallen out of the rotation in Sacramento or Yogi Ferrell to send a point guard back to the Hawks — although, since Sacramento has $11 million in space, they don’t have to include the contract filler, but they may want to save that space for another move.
The Hawks will be shopping Lin for the next few weeks, waiting for a contender to recognize their backup point guard position simply isn’t good enough as is. We’ll have to wait to see if the Kings make the best offer to the Hawks or if someone else is willing to sweeten the pot more.