The 2014 NBA trade deadline, scheduled on February 20, is rapidly approaching. The Atlanta Hawks, like every team in the league, will be making phone calls these next couple of weeks in search of potential moves that will improve their squad.
Currently, the Hawks are 25-21, good enough for third in the Eastern Conference. They have made it clear that they still want to contend for a title even after the loss of Horford, given that most of the conference seems committed to tanking for the 2014 NBA draft.
There are a few possible trades that could benefit the team if they want to remain committed to this winning path.
Here are some.
Currently, the Hawks are 26th in the league in rebounding, a shocking stat for an overall terrific team.
They do not need to complete a blockbuster deal for an All-Star big man, but they definitely do need a big who is committed to rebounding.
Offensively, the Hawks are in fine shape, scoring 103.1 points per contest, placing them at 12th in the league. They could, however, take a slight hit offensively if it meant they would be getting an elite rebounder in the process.
The Brooklyn Nets’ Reggie Evans is an intriguing piece they might want to consider. He currently holds career averages of 7.2 rebounds per game in only 19.4 minutes per game. He makes less than $2 million a year, and a simple swap of a prospect for him might do the trick.
Given the age on the Nets’ roster and their current payroll situation, they might want to shed their power forward and his two-year guaranteed deal if it meant getting a young prospect with a cap-friendly contract.
A trade of the Hawks' 20-year-old point guard Dennis Schroder for Evans would be intriguing. While Schroder might turn out to be the better player in the long run, Evans is one of the best rebounders in the league and hustles every minute he is on the floor.
Granted he is not an offensive threat, but getting a proven rebounder for a little-used reserve might be too good to pass up.
While the market for pure centers is very thin, the Hawks must make a trade for a big man if they want to have continued success this year given the shortage on their roster.
If the Hawks want more than just a one-dimensional player like Reggie Evans who is only good at rebounding and that is it, getting all-around, balanced players like Hinrich and Mohammed makes sense.
Not only that, they would save money doing it. Hinrich and Mohammed come off the books at the end of this year, while Williams is still signed on for next season.
Mohammed is not an elite center by any means, but he is serviceable. With this trade the Hawks would not only be acquiring a proven big man, they would get a replacement for Lou-Will in the process.
This is a more drastic step, but it is one the Hawks should at least look at.
Jeff Teague, their starting point guard, is shooting career lows in both field-goal percentage (41.3) and three-point percentage (26.3).
Without getting too much into the numbers game, Teague simply is not playing up to his new contract's standards thus far.
Will the Hawks trade him? Probably not.
After all, he is only 25 years old, and many analysts and coaches probably think he still has a ton of potential left.
However, if the Hawks wanted to kill two birds with one stone in terms of their problems, they should shoot Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats an offer of Teague for Ramon Sessions and Bismack Biyombo.
Sessions’ contract expires at the end of the season, he does not shoot nearly as much as Teague and has the reputation of a pass-first point guard who looks to get his teammates involved.
Biyombo might be tricky to get involved with, but if Atlanta was somehow able to get its rim-defending, shot-blocking center it desperately needs (just imagine him next to Millsap), it would definitely be a tempting deal.
Pipe dream perhaps, but hey, crazier things have happened before.
As already touched on in this piece, the Hawks are in need of defense very badly.
Currently they are ranked 22nd in opponent field-goal percentage (46.0) and 16th in opponent three-point field-goal percentage (36.4).
Offensively they are still in great shape, sitting comfortably in the top 10 for both field-goal percentage and three-point percentage.
However, if they want to remain elite and be seen as a potential title contender, they must seek out more defense both inside and outside.
If they could somehow convince the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies to shake things up and take a glance at a Jeff Teague for Mike Conley Jr. deal, this would be a first good step to solving their defensive woes.
Conley Jr. is considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, thanks to his quickness and his ability to read offenses.
To put it simply, Atlanta needs to aggressively seek to add defensive-minded players before the deadline passes.
If they do not want to deal Teague, which is certainly understandable, they have to bring in someone to put next to Millsap in the post.
They have a committed and talented team already, with a front office that is focused on improving their team and not tanking for a draft pick. Adding a few more pieces to the puzzle near the deadline could do wonders for their chances going forward into the later stages of the 2013-2014 regular season and into the playoffs.