Best Bargain-Bin NBA 2014 Free-Agency Options for Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks still have money to spend this summer.
After their recent signing of Thabo Sefolosha, the Hawks have about $11 million left in cap room, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore tweeted.
It's no secret management is targeting Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng, who, if signed, would take up virtually all of the remaining cap room, according to USA Today's Sam Amick. But should the Hawks whiff on Deng, there are still bargain-bin free agents waiting to be snatched up at affordable prices.
Which players should the Hawks be looking at to fill out their roster?
Let's look at four bargain-bin players the Hawks can pick up on the cheap who will help fill one of the Hawks' primary needs: wing scoring and interior toughness.
To be clear, a player will be considered a part of the "bargain bin" if he is not one of the top 25 free agents on Bleacher Report's D.J. Foster's Free Agency Big Board.
Nick Young, SG
Weight: 200 pounds
2013-14 per-game stats: 17.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 16.0 PER
I realize signing Nick Young would be a gamble.
He hardly plays defense, struggles passing the ball and has an inflated view of his own skills, per CBSSports.com's Zach Harper.
But he can score from either wing position, and that is Atlanta's biggest need right now.
Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Thabo Sefolosha are the best three wings on the Hawks roster right now, but all three are below-average at creating their own scoring opportunities.
Nick Young would be the perfect candidate for a mid-sized contract, should Atlanta miss out on Luol Deng's services.
Kent Bazemore, SG
Weight: 201 pounds
2013-14 per-game stats: 6.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 11.2 PER
I'll admit, Kent Bazemore's stats from last year look pretty pathetic for someone I believe could be a difference-maker for the Hawks next year.
In his 23 games with the purple and gold, Bazemore scored 13.1 points per game in 28.0 minutes of action. That scoring mark was better than every Hawks wing last season.
Bazemore also has a reputation for being a solid all-around player and great teammate. Mike Prada of SB Nation called him a "future Swiss Army Knife", and according to Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation, former Warriors teammate Stephen Curry was "angered" to hear Bazemore was traded.
Bazemore's ability to do lots of things on the court and his likability with teammates would be a welcome sight for the Hawks.
Ed Davis, PF
Weight: 225 pounds
2013-14 per-game stats: 5.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 15.9 PER
Atlanta bigs were weak in two areas last season: rebounding and blocked shots.
Coincidentally, rebounding and blocking shots are two of Ed Davis' best basketball skills. The athletic Davis grabbed 9.8 rebounds and swatted away 1.6 shots per 36 minutes for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013-14. No one on the Hawks roster who played at least 500 minutes reached either of those numbers.
At first glance, Davis looks like a perfect fit. However, he doesn't have much of a jump shot (one three-point attempt in his four-year career) and fouls a lot (4.3 per 36 minutes last year), two attributes which wouldn't endear him to Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer.
But for a relatively small price tag, the Hawks should be open to signing Davis based on the boost he could provide to their frontcourt.
Chris Andersen, C
Weight: 230 pounds
2013-14 per-game stats: 6.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 18.5 PER
Chris Andersen has been an important cog for the Miami Heat in each of the past two seasons, but change could be in the air in South Beach.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Andersen has opted out of his player option for next year, which would have been for the league's veteran minimum salary. This means he is probably looking for more money, which he could get from Miami or another team.
Assuming the East is much less competitive than the West like it was last season, the Hawks might be smart to take a flyer on the 36-year-old Andersen this summer. Andersen could buoy the Atlanta roster to a deep playoff run in 2014-15 while the conference remains weak.
It's not like Andersen is washed up. His .205 win shares per 48 minutes would have ranked him No. 8 in the NBA in 2013-14 had he played enough minutes to qualify. He is still an elite shot-blocker and dependable rebounder, which is just the type of player the Hawks could use.
Atlanta may not be Andersen's top destination, but team management should make a strong pitch to the veteran.
Note: All stats used are from Sports-Reference.com, unless otherwise indicated.