As each NBA team is eliminated from contention for the 2016-17 title, The Post looks at what it has in store this offseason. The series continues with the Atlanta Hawks, who were eliminated by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs.
2017 draft picks
First round: Their own (No. 19).
Second round: Brooklyn’s (No. 31).
2017-18 salary cap space (with projected $102 million cap)
$31.9 million. (Six players with $62.4 million in guaranteed contracts, two draft picks worth $2.8 million; four roster charges worth $3.3 million; $1.6 million partial guarantee for Mike Dunleavy’s contract). Doesn’t include the rest of Dunleavy’s partially guaranteed deal or Ryan Kelly’s non-guaranteed pact.
2017 free agents
PF Paul Millsap, PF Kris Humphries, PF Ersan Ilyasova, C Mike Muscala, SF Thabo Sefolosha, SG Tim Hardaway Jr. (restricted), PG Jose Calderon
Five questions to answer
1. Who will run the Hawks next season?
The Hawks last week announced a rather bizarre series of changes to its front office: Mike Budenholzer, president of basketball operations and coach, would willingly relinquish the former title but still have a voice in personnel decisions, and general manager Wes Wilcox would resign and become a special assistant to ownership.
The decision left several questions: Who will be the new president of basketball operations? And after finding that person, which path forward will the Hawks take during a pivotal offseason in Atlanta?
A team that already had a lot to sort out suddenly has more questions. This is the first chance for owner Tony Ressler to put his imprint on this franchise, and it will be fascinating to see what he does.
2. Will Paul Millsap re-sign?
When Millsap was signed by then-general manager Danny Ferry four years ago as an unrestricted free agent from the Utah Jazz, he was considered a very good player, but far from an all-star. Since then, Millsap has made four consecutive all-star teams and become one of the best all-around big men in the NBA.
Now, Millsap will become an unrestricted free agent, and even though he turned 32 in February, he is expected to receive multiple maximum-contract offers. If Atlanta would like to keep him, it’ll probably face the same decision it did with Al Horford last summer: Give Millsap a five-year max deal or offer him something less and watch him walk.
Much of this decision could come down to how the new president feels about the way the franchise should move forward. The guess, though, is that Millsap will be playing elsewhere (Denver? Minnesota?) next season.
3. What does Dwight Howard have left?
It was jarring to watch the Hawks-Wizards series and see just how out of place Howard looked in today’s NBA. It wasn’t long ago that he was among the league’s best players, a dominant big man who could control the game at both ends of the floor.
Those days are long gone. Howard, hampered over the past few seasons by back injuries, struggled to keep up with the pace of play; in fact, the Hawks often looked significantly better when he wasn’t on the court.
Howard has two years left on his contract and is owed another $47 million. After the season ended, he expressed frustration with his role. If Millsap leaves, the Hawks will look to move Howard — though what they’d get in return remains to be seen, particularly given the expected glut of centers on the market.
4. Where can Dennis Schroder go from here?
In his first full season as a starting point guard, Schroder had an up-and-down year. He got benched on a few occasions during games — including a notable occasion when he lost track of who he was guarding after starting an argument with Howard.
But Schroder was terrific going up against John Wall in the postseason, averaging 24.7 points and 7.7 assists while committing just 1.7 turnovers and shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range. He showed why the coaching staff moved on from Jeff Teague last summer and handed Schroder the keys to the franchise.
Next season will be the first of a four-year extension worth $15.5 million per a season, a deal that, even if he doesn’t improve from his regular season performance, is at least an acceptable one — or, if Atlanta wants to move him, a tradeable one. If he plays as he did in the playoffs, though, he could potentially be part of the Hawks’ long-term solution.
5. How much will Tim Hardaway Jr. get in restricted free agency?
And after a rough 2015-16 season in Atlanta, he rebounded to have his best season as a pro, setting himself up for an interesting trip into restricted free agency.
Hardaway averaged 14.5 points in 79 games (including 30 starts), but he remains an average shooting guard (he hit 35 percent of his threes, right at his career average) who doesn’t do much creating for his teammates (2.3 assists).
That complicates Hardaway’s value in restricted free agency. Because most teams are looking to fill minutes on the wings and find players who can shoot from the perimeter, he’ll likely get somewhere in the $10 million per year range. The lack of wings on so many teams, however, could potentially push his value a bit higher.
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