According to a recent social media post from Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Atlanta Hawks might be among the top candidates to sign two of the NBA’s more sought-after free agents this offseason — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo.
“There is a growing belief among rival teams that Atlanta will be in pole position for Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo when free agency begins later this week,” Stein tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, citing unnamed league sources.
Commenting on the new rumors, Bleacher Report wrote on Thursday that the Hawks now have the luxury to focus on improving their perimeter game, given that they used their first-round selection in this year’s NBA Draft on USC big man Onyeka Okongwu. The team currently has $43 million in available salary-cap space, which can be used to add one or two of the aforementioned free agents, though as the outlet speculated, it may be a challenge trying to convince Gallinari to choose the rebuilding Hawks over legitimate title contenders such as the Miami Heat. As such, it was suggested that the organization try to sell the forward on their long-term ambitions.
In the event the Hawks are able to sign Gallinari to a free-agent contract, his presence as a veteran sharpshooter could help a team that has an All-Star point guard in Trae Young, a pair of productive big men in Clint Capela and John Collins, and multiple three-point-shooting wings such as Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish. Per Bleacher Report, such a lineup could make them a playoff contender on paper, along with teams like the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards.
Regarding Rondo, who is reportedly being pursued by the Los Angeles Clippers as well, ClutchPoints wrote that he could provide “significant” playmaking to a club that lacks a proven facilitator behind Young. The outlet added that the erstwhile Lakers veteran could serve as a backup point guard who could run Atlanta’s offense whenever Young is on the bench, with his playoff credentials and status as a two-time champion addressing their lack of experience in postseason situations.
Prior to Wednesday night’s draft, a number of other players were suggested as possible offseason acquisitions for the Hawks, including Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal. However, with the event already completed, it appears that the team might have to rely more on its cap space and focus on the free-agent market as it continues its rebuilding process.