The Hawks have upgraded. A bigger upgrade is out there

The trouble with sudden success is that the “sudden” part of it can mislead. The Hawks liked what did in the 2021 playoffs so much that they did as the Falcons did after reaching a Super Bowl in which they took a 25-point lead. In short order, the Falcons made Devonta Freeman and Matt Ryan the NFL’s highest-salaried players at their positions. (They already had made Julio Jones the highest-salaried receiver.) In the five seasons since, they reached the playoffs once.

Young signed a five-year extension for $173 million. John Collins re-upped for $125M over five seasons, Clint Capela for $46M over two. Had the Hawks won the 2022 NBA title, it would have been money well spent. As it was, they went 43-39 and landed in the play-in tournament. In their Round 1 series against Miami, they won one game by one point.

By then, they’d dumped Cam Reddish, the ballyhooed No. 10 pick in 2019. The roster they loved became a roster they didn’t much like, especially on the first and 15th of every month. Of the Hawks’ 11 top scorers in the 2021 playoffs, four – Huerter, Gallinari, Reddish and Solomon Hill – are gone. Lou Williams is an unrestricted free agent. Those monitoring NBA chatter continue to insist Collins and/or Capela are outbound.

The Hawks haven’t crossed the luxury-tax threshold. Owner Tony Ressler said he’s prepared to do that. The four 2022 conference finalists were above…

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