Hawks are right to want Durant, but signing him remains a longshot

Forward Kevin Durant may have played his final game with the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night as he officially will become an unrestricted free agent soon. (AP photo)

Forward Kevin Durant may have played his final game with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. (AP photo)

One month ago, in a blog that was headlined, “Hawks dreaming of Kevin Durant but OKC may be his best option,” I wrote the following paragraph:

“The Hawks, led by owner Tony Ressler, are expected to make a strong push for Durant. A front line with Durant, Paul Millsap and Al Horford would make the Hawks an immediate title contender, regardless of what decisions they make in the backcourt with Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder. But several teams — particularly Miami, Boston and San Antonio — will try to convince Durant that he’s the final piece to their title hopes. I’m not sure the Hawks are in any better position than those teams.”

I bring this up now because ESPN’s Marc Stein has written a blog titled, “Hawks also want to get involved in Kevin Durant sweepstakes.”

He’s quotes sources. So maybe Stein spoke to the same people I spoke to a month ago.

I have no illusions that Durant will sign with the Hawks. But it would at least look good if they could convince Durant to meet with them, as our Chris Vivlamore is reporting, because the Hawks’ status as a destination team for free agents — or even a team they will consider — is uncertain. I still believe, as I wrote in late May, that Durant will re-sign with Oklahoma City.

The Hawks hope to leverage executive Grant Hill’s long-time friendship with Durant into a meeting. I’m sure part of the pitch will be, “We’re not title contenders now, but with you we will be.” And from there they can sell Atlanta as a city and any connections to the business and entertainment industries that the Hawks and owner Tony Ressler have access to.

But can the Hawks make a stronger pitch than Golden State, San Antonio, Boston or others? Are the Hawks legitimately in the Big Free Agent business? I’ll explore this further in a column on MyAJC.com posted later.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to my full column on MyAJC.com

Recent ramblings from the Digital Jukebox

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19 comments
candlin14
candlin14

The chance of Kevin Durant coming to Atlanta is ZERO.....


The Atlanta Hawks will end up maxing out a wannabe 3 point shooting Center and we will once again enter the season with no real big man and some decent role players. Typical ATL

MikeS777
MikeS777

I will say there's an odd thing about the NBA and free agency...all these guys in the West stay there.   The West teams just keep stacking up, and the East remains basically wide open.   Ever since the Celtics broke up and Howard left Orlando, the East has been Lebron and no one else.   4 of the 5 title contending teams from last year are in the West.   But every year these West all stars stay out there.

I don't think it's just an Atlanta issue.  It doesn't look to me like any of them are interested in coming to the Eastern Conference and being rival to Lebron.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Durant to the Hawks makes too much sense almost.   Other than taking into account the usual media hype, I don't understand why Atlanta is not being talked about more for Durant.   Atlanta currently has the depth you'd need around a star player to be a title contender.   They sign Durant and Horford, and that's all they need.  They could use a backup PG, and I think they should resign Humphries too.   Neither would be costly.

In the current state of the East it's a guaranteed trip to at least the conference finals every year if not NBA Finals.   Not including draft picks, starting 5:

PG - Schroder

SG - Korver

SF - Durant

PF - Millsap

C - Horford

Bench - Hardaway Jr., Sefalosha, Splitter, Scott, Muscala, Humphries

ShugJordan
ShugJordan

He's taking a one year deal to stay in OKC. Financially and professionally it makes the most sense. Having said that...


ATL should be a highly attractive destination for a variety of reasons:


1. The Hawks led in the 4th quarter against the Cavs (the only competition in the East) in 3 out of the 4 games in the conference semifinals, despite the Cavs sinking an ungodly number of 3-pointers throughout the entire series. ATL simply didn't have a go-to scorer when Cleveland cranked up the D. Enter KD.


2. The Hawks finally have stability in the ownership group and front office. Ressler sounds pretty willing to do whatever it takes to bring a championship to Atlanta, and Coach Bud is one of the most talented tacticians in the NBA. Ask Pop.

3. If KD is looking for a place to have "fun," Atlanta is right there next to LA and Miami as a destination city with plenty to offer. This is Black Hollywood. And if he is seeking fan support, I guarantee you a lot of those fans showing up to Philips in Kobe and LeBron jerseys would gladly swap those out if we could land a top 5 caliber player like Durant. Maybe he likes playing UNO, too.


4. If KD leads the Hawks to a title, he instantly becomes the most iconic player in franchise history (sorry, 'Nique). If he goes to LA or Boston or New York he's just another great player in a line of dozens of them. He can create a legacy here that is completely his own. Win a championship in ATL and you're The Guy, forever. Win a title in Boston and you're like, the 8th best player in franchise history.


5. If KD wants to play with Horford, I guarantee Al would be willing to do whatever it takes to accommodate him here. Al wants to win first and foremost, but if he can do it in Atlanta, he's gonna stay.


The only reason the Hawks haven't been seriously considered is because of reputation. Getting swept by the Cavs hurt, but if you take a closer look, this franchise presents the perfect scenario for one transcendent player to elevate both the team's status and his own.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ShugJordan

FIFTY years, ONE championship--and that's covering FIVE major sports teams.

A LOT to overcome.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@DawgNole @ShugJordan Remind me again how many championships OKC has?   The Hawks have no championships because the one time we had a truly elite player (Nique), it was the same time Boston had a roster full of hall of famers and Detroit had the bad boys.   We lost competitive 7 game series to those teams.

The East is wide open right now, so if Durant comes here, its a guaranteed Eastern Conference Finals every year if not more depending on what Lebron does.   No San Antonio or GS to upset to get there or Clippers to deal with.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@ShugJordan A lot of good points.   Add to that the state of the Eastern Conference means Atlanta might actually be the favorite with Durant.   As you point out, the Hawks take a couple of games from Cleveland if not for the Cavs' historic 3 pt shooting.   Durant gives them the ability to close those games, not to mention the fact he will draw double teams and the focus of opposing defenses.   That leaves double digit scorers like Horford, Milsap, and Schroder with some great shots, not to mention Korver.

Mo'sMule
Mo'sMule

kevin will use a bunch of teams to get more money--no chance he comes to Atlanta--he wants a ring---he'll end up in LA, Houston, or dallas or miami for huge money!

RonMexico
RonMexico

@LoMoney He's getting max money regardless of how many teams he talks to. And Atlanta is a lot closer to winning an NBA title than LA, Houston or Dallas. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

". . . the Hawks’ status as a destination team for free agents — or even a team they will consider — is uncertain."

_______________


Uncertain???

Based on their past 48 years (in ATL), that status seems pretty certain to me--they ain't comin' here!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Slim to none.....Slims out of town.

Dis custed
Dis custed

If you really want him go the Don Shula route and give him a purchase option or some outright ownership. The exponential increase in team value would be offset by immediate

cash outflow. Thing long term Tony Ressler and hire Danny fire while your at it.

Gman84
Gman84

The Hawks will never sign a free agent like KD. 


Never have, never will. 



OH:IO
OH:IO

He's alive!