Sharife Cooper signs two-way qualifying offer with the Hawks

Hawks guard Sharife Cooper signed his two-way qualifying offer, according to a person familiar to the situation.

Now it paves the way for Cooper to make his return to the team.

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Cooper, a 21-year-old guard, likely will spend much of next season in the G League with the Skyhawks as he continues to develop. The Hawks drafted him in the second round of the 2021 NBA draft at No. 48, and he played only 13 games with the main roster last season.

With the Skyhawks, Cooper averaged 17.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 43.5% shooting from the floor. He also knocked down 36.8% of his tries from 3-point range.

Cooper played on the Hawks’ Summer League roster last week and aimed to make his case for a larger role with the team. But he struggled in the team’s games, and he left the team’s final game early with thumb soreness.

The Hawks still have one spot remaining on the roster to sign a player to a standard deal, though it would be unlikely that Cooper can make a case that the spot should be his. He had trouble finding his footing and opened the tournament 1-of-14 from the floor and 0-of-5 from long range.

By the team’s fourth game, Cooper seemed to find a rhythm. He scored 15 points, had two rebounds and four assists in the Hawks’ 87-86 win over the Spurs.

He ended the tournament averaging 4.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in five games.

There still is a chance the team could waive Cooper, though. The Hawks have a lot of depth at point guard with Trae Young, Dejounte Murray and Aaron Holiday all expected to play minutes. The team also is stacked at shooting guard with Murray, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Tyrese Martin in the fold.