Atlanta Puts Reddish on the Market

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Updated: December 14, 2021
reddish

According to Shams on the Athletic, the Atlanta Hawks are currently testing the waters on a Cam Reddish trade. The report indicates that they are looking for a 1st round pick in exchange and it is assumed that they would prefer an expiring contract attach to it since they are attempting to dump Reddish for value before he needs to be extended next year. It is an interesting cavoite to the upcoming trade deadline as all other assets that have been put on the trade block thus far have been bigs. Two-way wings are the commodity on the market that not only are always in demand, but they are also rarely available.

The Reddish availability is even rarer not only due to his position as a potential 2-way 3 & D wing, but the contract he is currently on. Seldomly do lottery picks get moved prior to their extensions. With Reddish only making 4.6 this year and 6 million next year, he can be moved essentially exclusively for picks. The incoming salary in exchange needs to be around 3.7 to match the NBA’s trade requirements, however, the team acquiring Reddish would be planning to give him a rookie extension and would consequently create a new 12–20-million-dollar salary on the books. For a team like the Warriors who are way over the salary cap, an acquisition of this nature essentially works a loophole that allows them to further expand their future roster salary and New York Yankees the league if ownership is willing to pay the extreme luxury tax penalties.

Reddish is a polarizing player because on paper he is an ideal piece to pick up for the future yet, he has been a bit injury-prone and for current contenders his immediate impact in these upcoming playoffs is questionable. However, 6’8” lottery pick wings shooting north of 37% do not grow trees. He seems quite willing and eager to take open jumpers from distance on over 4 attempts per game and has shown promise on the defensive end with his length and versatility. For the three top teams in the West (Suns, Dubs, and Jazz), all of whom have picks to spend on the open market, if Reddish was a player expected to be slotted into the starting lineup the exchange would be quite a precarious one.

However, Phoenix, Golden State, and Utah are some of the deepest rosters in the league and have a few bottom contracts they could attach to picks in order to buy Reddish without even putting a serious nick in their depth. On these three squads, Reddish wouldn’t even be expected to be the 6th or maybe even 7th man in this upcoming postseason. It is a position you can really never have too much depth in the playoffs, and as their 8th or 9th man in the rotation, it would give these teams some insurance if one of their wings went down during this long and grueling season.

If this was the only reason though the juice wouldn’t be worth the squeeze, instead the primary idea behind paying for Reddish with draft capital is he is essentially like drafting a more formed Chris Duarte. Younger than the 4 year rookie (24), Reddish is still only 22 years old and both early in their development, except Reddish has the high ceiling of his lottery selection talent and may develop into one of these teams starting small forward in the next season or two. The catch is, Duarte and all other rookies don’t need to be paid anything substantial until the distant future whereas questions of extensions for Reddish begin this upcoming offseason.

Another question that comes into the minds of contending front offices is if he can replace their current backup wing who is making 8-15 million and if that contract can be used at the deadline to upgrade for a win-now piece. All these variables are only applicable to this situation because of the uniqueness of the Reddish contract still on a cheap rookie deal yet having serious upside moving forward.

One of the most ideal locations and franchises that most likely will be making a call to the ATL is Cleveland. They are a team that will not be able to attract high-level talent in free agency and still have draft capital to spend. With the emergence of Evan Mobley and the new defensive culture built in Cleveland, Reddish’s age and trajectory should match up with their young core. They also could decide to solidify the largest starting unit in the NBA with Darius Garland, Reddish, Markkanen, Mobley, and Allen. That is 6’1” at the 1, 6’8” at the 2, and 7-foot at the 3, 4, and 5.

With Evan Mobley’s unique defensive abilities, he creates certain options in Cleveland’s defensive schemes that simply are not available to most rotations. It might allow them to play 6’8” Reddish at the 2 and force the opposition to deal with oversized mismatches in every direction. With how exciting they have been for the first time since Lebron’s departure, I think most of those following the league would like to see them get the wing they are missing who can make an immediate impact, rather than tanking out and hoping for a rookie who is 3-years away.

It will be interesting to see how the Reddish news affects the market for the 3 bigs who had been put up for auction last week in Indiana and Houston. With Wood at nearly 14, and both Sabonis and Turner north of 17 million, the exchanges necessary to find a trade partner are tricky and require a substantial amount of buy-in on the big that he is their last piece of the puzzle. None of these obstacles are present in a Reddish trade with him making less than 5. The trade would take less draft capital and is acquiring a player who plays a position that is rarely made available simply for picks. Tomorrow, on December 15th, most of the recently signed free agents become trade eligible. Although the bigs probably won’t be moved till close to the early February trade deadline, it would not be surprising if Reddish is exchanged for sooner than later.

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