The first thing to take into account when it comes to trades is what are the team needs. You must also take into account salary implications, followed by who on your team (or money or picks) you are willing to part ways with. Lastly you have to look at what other teams might need and might be willing to part ways with.
Well, it has been said for years now that the Atlanta Hawks need at least one of two things: A Big Man and/or a Superstar. The Hawks are made up of a bunch of good players, but really no superstar. As for a Superstar, the closest thing that the Hawks have had to one in recent years would be Joe Johnson, but Johnson really was never a Superstar, and the only real Superstar that the organization has ever had that the casual NBA would know would know of, would of course be Dominique Wilkins. In terms of the Big Man need, in recent years they had Zaza Pachulia, who was still undersized, and Pero Antic who was not really your pro-typical Big Man as he would shoot a lot of three’s and did not seem to like to play near the basket like you need your Big Man to do. The Hawks primarily use Al Horford at Center, but he really is not big enough to be playing the 5 and if he has to play there for awhile longer it could significantly shorten his career with the beating that he takes/will continue to take by true Centers who are bigger than he is. In an ideal world, the Hawks could play Horford at Power Forward (his natural position), Paul Millsap at Small Forward, Kyle Korver at Shooting Guard and Jeff Teague at Point Guard with a legitimate Big Man at Center. Then, they can even go small, or what is currently known as their starting/main lineup, and throw in Kent Bazemore at the SF and move Millsap and Horford back a spot. The only true Big Man on the roster, at least that has started a game this season and plays significant minutes, would be Tiago Splitter who is 31 and really more of a role player at this point in his career.
The salary cap for the 2015-16 season is set at $70 million with the tax level set at $84.74 million (although next season there is expected to be a huge jump up in the salary cap as the NBA’s nine-year television contract with TNT and ESPN of $24 billion will kick in, but that is a different story). The Hawks current payroll sits at a little more than $71.5 million according to basketball-reference.com (all salary numbers are courtesy of basketball-reference). The biggest hit against the cap is Millsap at $19 million this season (Horford is the only other player over $10 million at $12 million). The only other players who are making more than $6 million are Splitter at $8.5 million and Teague at $8 million.
One position that the Hawks seem to have extra of would be PG. Teague is obviously the starter, but Dennis Schroder is still a young talent with a lots of potential. Last season, and even during the off-season, there were rumors of teams interested in acquiring the services of Schroder. While he would be a tough asset to give up, it would not be the end of the world if they were to do so. The Sacramento Kings was the team that was mentioned the most. The Hawks could also go the other way and trade Teague, but it would obviously take a lot to pry Teague away from Atlanta, and for all we know he might be untouchable to the Hawks organization as Schroder is still a bit of a raw talent. Teague would save a lot of room in terms of the cap and would even make it to where they take on a bigger contract. Then there is also Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha. Bazemore would certainly garner more interest as he is the starter, but regardless, the Hawks have capable backups at a couple of different positions.
Horford is also an interesting asset here as he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, but it certainly seems like the Hawks would never trade him away, which as a Hawk (and Braves) fan I can certainly appreciate.
In terms of draft picks, the Hawks have one in the 1st round as well as two in the 2nd round after they got the 2nd round pick from the Washington Wizards along, with another 2nd round pick in 2019 and their 1st round pick from the 2015 draft (which the Hawks traded away for Tim Hardaway Jr.).
The trade deadline is February 18th, and as I mentioned, the Kings have been a team that has seemed to have some interest in Schroder in the past, but they picked up Rajon Rondo in the off-season, and other than the constant clashes Rondo seems to have with whomever is his coach, I don’t see a trade fit with them anymore (Hawks are obviously not going to trade PG for PG.
The one team that is getting mentioned a lot now is the New York Knicks. This seems like an unlikely trade partner since the Knicks do not really have anything of interest to the Hawks other than draft picks, and I just do not see the Hawks going in that direction.
Personally, I think the Hawks would be best off if they made a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have Brook Lopez as their center which leaves Andrea Bargnani on the bench for the most part. They Nets could certainly use a point guard now that Deron Williams is gone to the Dallas Mavericks and Schroder would be a good young fit for the Nets, and if the Hawks game up Schroder for Bargnani, it would only cost the Nets an extra $400,000 for this season. Schroder’s contract become more expensive next season, but that should not be an issue since the salary cap will be higher.
Some other teams that the Hawks could potentially trade with are the New Orleans Pelicans who have five players that are at least 6’10” and could use some help at the SF position so a trade along the lines of Bazemore or Sefolosha for Omar Asik could potentially work.
Due to salary restrictions, I do not see the Hawks really being able to go after a superstar in a trade, but it could potentially be a possibility that the Hawks could pursue in the off-season with the increased salary cap.
These are all of course, just ideas of what the Hawks could end up doing before the trade deadline. Although if following the Hawks over the years has taught me anything, it is that I have no idea what will happen.