Matt Costello signs with Atlanta Hawks
One night was not enough for MSU graduating senior Matt Costello to achieve his NBA dreams. The following morning sufficed, however, as the Atlanta Hawks conducted their first business of the summer free agency when they signed Michigan's former Mr. Basketball to a deal that will move him to Atlanta for the Summer League and training camp.
The news, first reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, means that Costello will be the third departing Spartan to join an NBA roster, joining Denzel Valentine and Deyonta Davis, headed to the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies respectively. Bryn Forbes is as of now still untaken.
Matt Costello, of Michigan St., has agreed to a contract with the Hawks. He will go to Summer League and training camp with the team.— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) June 24, 2016
Costello had a productive senior season, averaging 10.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and serving as a defensive pillar for the team with 1.2 blocks per outing, as well. He was an integral part of the Spartans' late season success, as Costello finished with double-digit scoring games in 11 of the final 13 contests.
Although the news is a realization of qualifying for an NBA roster, Costello is not out of the thick just yet. Most undrafted free agent contracts do not guarantee roster spots for the regular season. Rather, they give players the chance to compete for their place on a team following evaluations during the NBA Summer League and training camp. From there, the coaching staff will comparatively decide a certain amount of players to retain while the rest will be released, left to find other teams or forced to sign up for other leagues.
Rookie contracts for undrafted free agents also exclude guaranteed money aside from a small initial bonus. However, if the Linwood-native is able to scrap through the bodies competing for a roster spot, he will likely make the rookie minimum, at $543,471 for his salary.
Although Costello was considered the least likely Spartan to win a roster spot on opening day, his signing places him in an enviable position. As an undrafted free agent, Costello was able to choose his team, and the rapidity of the signing might indicate a showing of faith from the Hawks. Furthermore, the Hawks face serious danger losing their primary big men to free agency, as both Al Horford and Paul Millsap will have chances to head elsewhere. That means that there will likely be a void for Costello to fill, and if he can have an impressive training camp and Summer League, Costello will earn himself a spot on the locker room wall of NBA players from MSU.