“Other teams, such as the Trail Blazers and Hawks, have been in touch in preliminary terms, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”
Rick Sund didn’t want to comment on the item yesterday. But knowing how he operates, “preliminary terms” means the Hawks reached out to the Nuggets to see what they are thinking regarding Melo. Sund always stresses that teams constantly make such calls to see if there are deals that make sense but that it doesn’t mean anything will get done or that it ever reaches the level of negotiations.
Once such talks reach the public domain, though, folks get in a frenzy. Before you run too far with Melo and the Hawks, first thing’s first: In an interview with Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, Melo didn’t include Atlanta on the list of cities where he’d be willing to sign an extension:
I Asked: Are the options strictly New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Denver?
Melo said, “Yeah. But I really can’t say it’s just those, because I don’t really know (what could happen).”
This, of course, is in reference to the reality that Denver could trade Melo to a team he doesn’t want to play for long-term. If that happens, then he might not sign the three-year, $65 million contract extension to play for that team. Instead, he’d opt out of his current contract and be a free agent this summer, likely signing with the Knicks. But – he would take a significant pay cut, due to the new collective bargaining agreement.
Furthermore, the Hawks don’t have the kind of assets the Nets were offering the Nuggets for Melo.. I also doubt the Hawks would be willing to give up a part of their proverbial “core” for a short-term rental of Melo since they still don’t know what this group can do (and such a swap could significantly weaken the Hawks in other areas even as they add Melo). I do think ASG might be willing to pay the luxury tax for Melo because, if you recall, in those comments that got Michael Gearon Jr. fined by the league, he said there are only a few players worth the tax in this market because of the revenues they’d bring in. Melo might–emphasis on might–be a guy who could do that here.
Of course this whole Melo saga could end (it will end, won’t it?) with him signing Denver’s extension offer or rolling the dice and becoming a free agent despite the CBA uncertainty.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat