New York Knicks: Top 2019 free agent competitors by projected cap space

Nets Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Nets Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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Hawks Trae Young (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Hawks Trae Young (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

4. Atlanta Hawks ($49.01 million)

The Atlanta Hawks have never been a big market destination. They had intriguing talents as recent as a few years back, including Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, but that team is long gone in favor of a youth movement.

Trae Young and Kevin Huerter are the future of Atlanta and potentially two top-10 picks in the first round lie ahead. That places grand emphasis on the future and not so much on acquiring veterans, even with up to $49.01 million to work with.

The Hawks could spend, but likely just to raise their cap number and fill spaces with high-salary, one-year deals. They won’t compete in the 2019-20 season, so those players can eventually land elsewhere for draft picks on controlled contracts who help this team’s future.

That places the Hawks in the middle of the free agent pack. They aren’t signing the top names unless someone is overwhelmed with Atlanta, and even though it is in better position for the rebuild than the New York Knicks right now, the city destination matters. Manhattan triumphs just about everything, with Los Angeles as the other threat.

Maybe the Hawks upset the offseason and sign a higher profile player for its young bunch, but them taking it slow with their rebuild makes sense to stick to.