The Hawks won 60 games during the regular season, and ended their most successful season in franchise history with a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
But all of that wasn’t enough to bring the team back as is for next season.
Paul Millsap is an unrestricted free agent, and is flirting with the Orlando Magic. That may be part of the reason Atlanta traded for Tiago Splitter, but it’s likely unrelated to the team allowing DeMarre Carroll to end up somewhere else.
Hawks lose DeMarre Carroll to the Toronto Raptors, I’m told, on a four-year, $60-Million deal. DeMarre himself announced via Twitter.
Carroll was the best player for Atlanta on both ends of the floor during the playoffs, and will be a welcome upgrade to a Raptors defense that ranked 23rd in the league in efficiency.
The success of the Hawks last season was seen by a segment of observers as fool’s gold. They won 40 of their first 48 games before cruising to a 20-14 regular season finish, and didn’t look great in the postseason, especially when dropping two games to a sub-.500 Nets team in the first round.
Injuries played a part in their demise, but there was also a sense that teams caught up with them after the hot start, and that the lack of a true superstar could only take them so far. By going in a very different direction in terms of the roster decisions this summer, it’s clear those inside the Hawks organization were feeling the same way.