Free agency has officially begun and the Atlanta Hawks are starting off a little deeper in the hole than they originally expected. The team already knew that Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll were going to be testing the market as unrestricted free agents, but they certainly did not anticipate lose Pero Antic who has decided to return to Europe after two seasons with the Hawks. Those moves plus the two offseason surgeries to Kyle Korver have Atlanta answering more questions than they wanted.
According to PeachtreeHoops.com, the Hawks are primed to make some moves in free agency given their amount of cap space freedom. However, that will start with retaining Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll. The Hawks will not land someone like LaMarcus Aldridge or Marc Gasol, so retaining their two stars is key. Head coach Mike Budenholzer told the media via NBA.com that they want to keep Millsap and Carroll in order to keep the whole team together. Both players saw their stocks sky rocket last season in Atlanta which has raised interest in them in free agency, so Atlanta has competition.
"Our most important thing is keeping our team together, so the more time I have to spend time with Paul and DeMarre and our players, I welcome that," Budenholzer said, via NBA.com. "These guys have earned this opportunity. I think they're going to have people who are interested in pursuing them. What they want and need, you can never be sure. Hopefully we know them well."
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Hawks have offered Millsap a max contract of four years and $80 million. The Orlando Magic have offered the same thing. It is believed that Millsap is deciding between the Magic and the Hawks for free agency and could make a decision relatively quickly. After Millsap the attention turns to Carroll. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Carroll could earn a deal similar to what Al-Farouq Aminu signed with the Portland Trail Blazers which was four years and $30 million. If the Hawks give a max deal to Millsap, getting Carroll the same type of contract will be tough.
The Hawks have been mention in free agency talk for players like Monta Ellis, but the shooting guard would simply not fit in the Hawks pass-friendly offense. If Millsap and Carroll were to both exit Atlanta, the Hawks could likely have issues finding proper replacements. David West or Ed Davis could be options for Millsap while Corey Brewer and Brandon Bass highlight the small forward position. Budenholzer wants more than anything to simply keep the band together.