By most reports, most of the Hawks’ offseason is over. They caused a sensation by exchanging Danilo Gallinari and multiple first-round picks to Spurs for Dejounte Murray. The Hawks also traded Kevin Huerter to kings for Justin’s Vacation, Mo Harkless and a protected first-round pick. Apart from a few other minor tweaks, the rest of the squad will remain the same as last season, as the Hawks’ primary focus shifts to expanding De’Andre Hunter.
During his three-year NBA career, Hunter showed the potential to be a top 3-and-D winger. Look no further than his performance against the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs last season. Hunter was by far the best player on the court for the Hawks, averaging 21.2 points from 55.7% from the field and 46.2% from deep.
It was the type of performance that reminded everyone why he was selected 4th overall. It’s also the type of performance that will make him pay in free agency, which is why the Hawks would ideally like to lock him up while he’s up for an extension this offseason. Unfortunately, the Hunter who shone in this year’s playoffs isn’t who he was in his first three seasons in Atlanta.
Hunter’s career so far has been a roller coaster ride. He displayed an elite level of play on both sides of the pitch, but was far too inconsistent to justify anything close to a maximum contract. To his credit, much of his three years in the league were affected by COVID and injury. It would be nice to see how he performs under normal circumstances, which could happen this coming season. But at the end of it, he will be a restricted free agent.
Still, the Hawks can’t give De’Andre Hunter the lucrative contract he seeks before he proves himself to a full season. So it’s no surprise that both sides are far apart when it comes to a contract extension. Recently, NBA insider Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report commented on the situationclaiming the two sides are “about $20 million apart in salary on a four-year contract.”
Early indications are that Atlanta and Hunter haven’t found much progress in extension talks, where the two sides are parting ways with roughly $20 million in wages on a four-year deal, reports said. sources.
Keldon JohnsonThe $80 million extension now serves as an obvious comparison for Hunter reps to use for their side of the negotiations. Johnson showed promising upsides, but among a rebuilding roster. When healthy, Hunter was arguably the Hawks’ second-best player behind Trae young– only more than 23 games in 2020-21, however. And then Hunter saw the ground in just 53 competitions last season after missing time with a wrist injury.
I have always been a fan of De’Andre Hunter and I think he can still become a player who could reach an all-star game. However, an extension seems unlikely at this stage. The Hawks can wait and see how he fares this season. If he does well, they can match any offer next offseason. There’s no reason for them to rush into an extension they don’t feel comfortable with right now.