The Atlanta Hawks (15-35) have one of the worst records in the NBA right now, which is somewhat unfamiliar for a franchise that has been in the postseason for the last 10 years. They have gone from competing in the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014-2015 to being in the cellar of the standings only two seasons later.
Some analysts believe that the team is ready to blow up its roster as this year’s NBA trade deadline draws near. Almost all of the Hawks’ five starters are rumored to be on the trading block, including Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, and Ersan Ilyasova.
With the deadline only less than two weeks away, a lot of suggested trade scenarios involving some of their key players have been circulating online. One of the most recent trade proposals came from TNT analyst and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge, and it mentioned the 6-foot-10, 235-pound stretch four Ilyasova.
Through the NBA’s official website, Aldridge listed 10 potential trades that could happen before the February 8 deadline, and one of them suggests that the Hawks might deal Ilyasova to the Los Angeles Lakers for a package that includes Julius Randle and Ivica Zubac.
Ilyasova, 30, is a decent defender and a known outside-shooting big man that matches well in today’s style of floor-spacing basketball. He averages 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 0.9 steals in only 25.9 minutes in 39 games for the Hawks so far.
FanSided‘s Soaring Down South blog said that Ilyasova has been “remarkably consistent” this season “on both ends of the floor.” Currently, he is shooting 45.7 percent from the field, including a 35.9 clip from downtown, which is near his career shooting averages.
However, those are not the traits that would make Ilyasova valuable to the Lakers. According to Aldridge, Los Angeles would most likely take advantage of his expiring contract to clear more salary cap space as the Hollywood squad prepares itself for a summer of free agent acquisitions.
Meanwhile, trading Randle meant that the Lakers would no longer have to worry about the power forward’s own impending free agency. The 23-year-old former Kentucky standout is set to become a restricted free agent in July. He would most probably command a huge salary increase, something that the Lakers are reportedly unwilling to give him at this point in time.
Rather than losing Randle for nothing, L.A. gets to have a veteran big man that could still produce and help them win more games this season, with the option of re-signing him in the future should they feel the need to do it.