Trading Kyle Korver doesn’t mean the Atlanta Hawks have to mail it in.
In fact, they’d won six in a row entering Monday.
Nor is it a big deal if Mike Dunleavy doesn’t want to report to the Hawks. Dunleavy was the main piece obtained from Cleveland (along with that 2019 first-round pick). Word is, Dunleavy wants to be bought out and become a free agent.
No problem there. Just do it, Hawks.
What really matters is where the Hawks go from here. Do they deal Paul Millsap? How about Thabo Sefolosha?
Both own expiring contracts.
And what about Dwight Howard? The Hawks brought him in to win more often. So do you clean out the roster and start over? How pleasing would that be to Howard?
But Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox and coach Mike Budenholzer have to decide if what they currently have can contend for a title — if not this season, then soon.
They have to decide if they can entertain fans and put their fannies in the seats. They have to decide if keeping Millsap and/or Sefolosha is worth the risk of losing them for nothing in free agency at the end of the year.
They have to figure out if anyone will even give them a decent return for either player.
Or maybe you dangle Kent Bazemore. Maybe you can get a nice return for a package centered on Bazemore, then use that to keep Millsap in town at season’s end.
Korver is 35 years old and no longer seemed to be a great fit with a team that’s spinning his wheels. The Hawks got the maximum for Korver, as the Cavs were the only team to offer a first-rounder in return. It was a good trade for both teams.
Now, the Hawks may want to just keep doing what they’re doing, playing hard, winning some games and exploring the market.
No one thinks they’ll win a championship this season. But the next best thing to winning a title is playing a brand of winning basketball that gives fans a regular-season full of fun.
Lately, that’s been the Hawks.
With the trading deadline less than a month away, they need to decide if that’s enough. If they decide it’s not, then they still have time to figure things out.
Trading Korver to Cleveland is hardly reason for panic, or reason to think you need to gut the team.
It can simply be the start to taking the next winning step.