The Atlanta Hawks were nearly sold to a pizza magnate this summer. So close! Alas, the Atlanta Spirit lives on. With that, expect a fairly strict continuance of the past few years, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Here's a look at the Hawks' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.
After a few years down with Charlotte below sea level, the Hawks have spent commensurate with other playoff teams. Balancing the need to stay under the luxury tax -- an assumed goal of the ownership group -- and paying guys like Joe Johnson and Al Horford while fielding a well-rounded team will continue to be a serious task for GM Rick Sund.
Heading into free agency, the Hawks have a cap figure of $66 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million.
The Hawks' free agents are:
It'd be no surprise if the Hawks let all of them walk away, though Collins seems like a comfortable fit for those 4-11 times a season the Hawks face the Magic. Crawford is expected to take more than what Atlanta can reasonably offer. The others are roster fillers.
Josh Smith is the Hawk everyone else seems to love for the right deal; Atlanta has been looking to move him since roughly 2006, and it could be in the team's best interest to slot Horford at power forward permanently, freeing up the center position for a truer interior player -- Horford's a pick-and-pop and high-post master. There's been little amnesty talk emanating from the ATL; Marvin Williams is young enough that you'd expect the Hawks to try to trade him before eating his salary to clear cap room only.
If a top contender like the Celtics begins to dismantle itself, the Hawks could get sneaky and try to pull a major piece in a bid to make a quick run for glory.
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