Velvet is made of silk, rayon, acetate, polyester, or a blend of each. However, velveteen is made from cotton and results in a stiffer and less smooth fabric. Kevin Huerter, aka Red Velvet, has materialized into the ideal 3-and-D player for the modern NBA. Therefore, the Hawks front office must prioritize quality over quantity.
In Huerter's three seasons in the league, he has improved despite drastic changes to his role on the team. Rookie, to a starter, back to 6th man. Spot-up shooter, then playmaker, now lockdown defender. All the while increasing his offensive efficiency while rounding out the rest of his game.
It’s no secret that Huerter had to take a backseat to the veterans the Hawks brought in for the 2020-2021 season. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Lou Williams took the ball out of Huerter's hands and forced him to further adapt to stay on the court – which he did. During the biggest moments of the season, Red Velvet dropped 27 points in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Still on his rookie contract, Huerter is set to earn $4.25 million in 2021-2022 and could receive a $6.07 million qualifying offer for the 2022-2023 season. Now that General Manager Travis Schlenk has signed Trae Young to a max extension, it's time to work on his other pick from the 2018 NBA Draft.
On August 10, Schlenk told Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic:
“We’ve spoken with his agent,” Schlenk said. “We’re going to get into deeper dialogue next week. His agent wanted to wait a little bit and get all his free agents signed, before he went into extensions, less time-sensitive matters like the extension, but certainly his agent and Kevin are hoping to have that dialogue and certainly we are as well… Our intention is to try and get something done with Kevin, for sure.”
That quote was from two weeks ago. So if you do the math, that means negotiations should have already started. Unfortunately, we have not heard any updates from either side since that time.
After delivering the bag to Young and John Collins this summer, the Hawks front office will soon find themselves flirting with the luxury tax. But that is no reason to jeopardize a huge piece of their young core. There is speculation that Huerter could garner between $15-$20 million a season, given his status in the league.
Of course, Huerter will not see max money like Young, Luka Doncic, or Shai Gilgeious-Alexander. But there are still plenty of players from the 2018 Draft getting paid. Gary Trent Jr. signed a 3-year, $54 million deal with the Raptors. Mikal Bridges is still working on a deal but is expected to get at least $20 million annually after his extension is finalized.
Paying Huerter is the right thing to do. However, it will not come without making sacrifices elsewhere on the roster. Likely, either an integral piece of the young core or a pricey veteran will be moved to maintain some flexibility. Hawks fans prefer keeping Cam Reddish and flipping someone like Danilo Gallinari (the second-highest-paid player on the Hawks books for the 21-22 season).
A deal does not have to be reached immediately. The Hawks can let it play out like they did last season with Collins. But in a player (and agent) driven league, it’s important to keep everyone happy. Kevin Huerter, aka K’Von, aka Red Velvet, is a silky-smooth shooter with a voracious defensive appetite. It's always important to pay for quality rather than cheap imitations.