Through the 2018 draft the Hawks were able to add a variety of talent, which looks to play a part in the next few years of Atlanta’s rebuilding project. Following the formula of the Process Sixers and other successful rebuilds in recent years, the Hawks had a very specific plan in free agency. They did not reach on players, avoiding long-term commitments, found a budget veteran locker room presence in Vince Carter, and took a few cheap fliers on young players with upside.
Before the draft, two bigs made the decision to stick with the organization exercising their player options included in their contracts, opting not to test the waters of free-agency. First was Dewayne Dedmon, who opted into his contract for one more year at $6.3 million. Dedmon, who became a legitimate rotation player with the Spurs, developed even further under ex-coach Mike Budenholzer. Dedmon became a legitimate three-point threat, shooting at a 35.5% clip after only attempting one three-pointer in his career up until 2017. Dedmon also boosted his assist percentage, nearly doubling it, in Budenholzer’s free-flowing offensive scheme. Dedmon figures to be the Hawks’ starting center through the next season, unless he is traded near the deadline or Coach Pierce experiments with John Collins at the 5. Mike Muscala, a key cog off the Hawks’ bench for the last five seasons, opted in to a one year $5 million-dollar deal. Muscala is a solid bench big, who provides floor spacing, shooting 37.8% from deep in his career. After opting in Muscala was traded away to the Sixers in a three-team deal (more on that later).
On July 25 the Hawks became the eighth NBA team to retain the services of Vince Carter. While Carter is not the player he once was, he can still be effective in limited minutes. Just last year at the age of 40 he recorded a 53.8 True Shooting Percentage, a measure which accounts for the relative values of three-point and two-point shots and free throws. Along with anything that he contributes on the court, he provides twenty years of NBA experience that can help with the development of young wings like Taurean Prince and Tyler Dorsey. Carter’s contract is a one-year deal worth $2.4 million, allowing for future financial flexibility. Also on that date, the Hawks signed Daniel Hamilton, a 6’7” wing who played most of the year in the G-League. His deal is for one year and $1.35 million. Hamilton will likely not play much for the Hawks, but will have at least some opportunities to play himself into a second contract.
Arguably the most important signing of this offseason for Atlanta, was Alex Len. Len, a former lottery pick out of the University of Maryland, fell out of favor in Phoenix and lost minutes to Tyson Chandler last season, and with the selection of DeAndre Ayton became an expendable player. He is at the very least a big body off the bench at 7’1” and is still young at the age of 25. When he came out of college scouts intrigued by his skill set of being able to operate on the perimeter as a big as well as defensive potential, showcased in his domination of then-Kentucky Wildcat Nerlens Noel. In Phoenix Len was only on the court for about twenty minutes a game and found himself very limited in his role, primarily being used off-ball with Devin Booker running the show. In Atlanta, Len has an opportunity to prove that he was deserving of a lottery selection, and with low expectations as a team, there will be little pressure on him. His contract is for two years and $8.5 million, which is a small investment in a player who was once considered a top-ten player in the draft. Along with these players, the Hawks were able to sign forward Alex Poythress and guard Jaylen Adams to two-way contracts in partnership with the G-League Erie Bayhawks.