The Atlanta Hawks did well for themselves this season. After losing Al Horford to the Boston Celtics, they were still able to finish 5th, averaging over a .500 record going 43-39. Obviously, the goal of any sports team is to win and be a contender. With the Cavaliers being so dominant in the East, it would be wise for the Atlanta Hawks to maintain the pieces that helped them reach the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference this season and add via the draft/free agency. Let's break down the Atlanta Hawks free agency situation.

Who is a free agent

Going into the off-season, seven players on the roster are currently free agents. Six of which are unrestricted, one of which is a player option, while one player is restricted. Paul Millsap is the star who boasts the player option, and unfortunately for the Hawks, he has already opted out of his contract.

This was a key piece that the Hawks should be extremely keen on re-signing. Millsap averaged 18.1 points per game this year and was second in rebounds behind Dwight Howard, and second in assists behind Dennis Schroder.

And at the age of 32, he has shown no sign of slowing down. This will be a pretty big blow to the Atlanta Hawks if he ends up with another team.

The other five unrestricted players are Jose Calderon, Kris Humphries, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Muscala, and Thabo Sefolosha. All of the players listed are age 30 or older besides Mike Muscala, so it will be interesting to see who the Hawks keep around. With Millsap potentially leaving, they will need to fill that gap possibly -- but none of these guys have the potential to fill those big shoes.

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An interesting piece to be aware of is Ersan Ilyasova due to his resurgence this past season. He enjoyed a successful stint with the 76ers, recording a slew double-doubles before being traded to the Hawks. Although he can't fill the empty starting role, Atlanta should keep him on their radar.

Bearing Ilyasova in mind, this cast of players does not hold a franchise face, only role players. I expect to see Muscala and Sefolosha return, but with guards being very plentiful in the draft, the future of Jose Calderon who was acquired through waivers is unknown.

One player expected to play a role next season is the only restricted free agent, Tim Hardaway Jr., who has provided solid production for the Hawks this year. At the age of 25, he is a talented piece they could keep around to ignite the team when coming off the bench for fast-paced scoring, which he did much of the season.

What should the Hawks do now?

Resign Millsap at all costs.

Although pieces such as Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard are talented, they need Paul Millsap at the forefront to be successful again. Strengthen the core of the team up with a shooter on the wing, and the Hawks could become dangerous very quickly. With the salary cap going up, and sub-par services being paid for at extraordinary rates, Paul Millsap will be heavily recruited this off-season. Meaning the Hawks should not mess around in negotiations if they are serious about contending.

If Millsap were not to return, the Hawks must attract another all-star to stay in contention.

But it would not surprise me if Atlanta had to take some time away from the limelight to rebuild upon Millsap deciding to take his talents elsewhere.

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