Huerter, Hawks agree to contract extension

Kevin Huerter and the Hawks have agreed to a four-year, $65 million contract extension, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The deal was struck close to the 6 p.m. Monday deadline for rookie-scale contract extensions ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season beginning Tuesday. The Hawks officially announced it later Monday night.

The 23-year-old Huerter is entering his fourth year in Atlanta and has shown he’s a valuable player in a handful of ways, including his versatility. He’s got good size (6-foot-7, 190) and can plug in basically anywhere 1-3, is a good passer and 3-point shooter (36.3% last year, 37.6% in his career) and has delivered on the big stage, acting as the Game 7 hero in the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the top-seeded Sixers, scoring 27 points and making smart plays to help the Hawks advance.

“It was important to our group to secure Kevin as a part of our team moving forward,” Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said. “He’s developed into a versatile, two-way player who can fit any lineup and can play minutes all over the perimeter. We are excited his future is in Atlanta.”

Overall, Huerter averaged 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.8 minutes per game last year.

Huerter joins teammates Trae Young, John Collins and Clint Capela in securing contract extensions entering the season as the Hawks maintain even more continuity from the team that won two games in the Eastern Conference finals last year.

Last season, Huerter’s stock rose considerably when he took a leap forward on defense, often asked to guard one of the opposing team’s best players, with two-way wings De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish out injured for much of the year, and guard Bogdan Bogdanovic missing time due to injury, as well. Before the injury report snowballed, it seemed like the Hawks wouldn’t have enough minutes to go around for all their young talent, but Huerter ended up playing in 69 regular-season games out of 72, starting 49 and providing consistency the Hawks needed.

With Hunter and Bogdanovic likely back in the starting lineup this year, plus Huerter and Reddish coming off the bench, the Hawks will have ample depth, provided everyone stays healthy.

“I don’t deal with the contract situation, but you hope that we can get Kevin signed and extended and we can move forward, everybody can just start to focus on the season,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said earlier Monday, when asked what he hope gets done. “But that is a situation that both Kevin and the organization are working out.”

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