The Hawks have agreed to a trade that will send Lou Williams and the rights to 2013 first-round draft pick Lucas Nogueira to the Raptors for John Salmons, according to a person familiar with the situation. The Hawks intend to waive Salmons in a move that will free up salary cap room. The Hawks will also receive a second-round draft pick in the deal that is expected to be completed Monday.
The freed salary cap space can be used with the start of free agency on July 1. Salmons’ contract had a $7 million team option. With the move, the Hawks will now have more than $15 million in available salary cap space. The salary cap move was not made specifically to clear space for the Hawks to attempt to sign a major free agent on the market, according to the person familar with the deal. However, the Hawks are open to negotiate with one of the major players available on July 1, a group that includes LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Williams will make $5,450,000 next season, which was to be the final of a three-year free-agent deal he signed with the Hawks. Williams was the odd-man out in the Hawks guard rotation and was likely to be in the same position this season. Williams, who returned last season from a torn right ACL, did not play in a stretch of seven straight games in March as a coach’s decision. The Hawks just added guard Lamar Patterson, a second-round pick, in last week’s draft. He joins a backcourt of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Dennis Schroder and John Jenkins. The Hawks are also expected to extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Shelvin Mack, who played backup point guard last season, on Monday.
Williams, from South Gwinnett High School, averaged 10.4 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 60 games last season.
Nogueira spent last season playing in Spain after the Hawks acquired him in a draft-night trade with the Celtics, who selected him with the 16th overall pick. The center missed two months of his ACB League season to come to the United States for treatment of tendinitis in both knees. Nogueira became expendable as the Hawks signed Mike Muscala to a contract after the 2013 second-round pick spent half a season playing in Spain. The Hawks also just drafted 7-foot-3 center Walter Tavares in the second round. He will likely continue his development overseas next season but could be a future option at center for the Hawks.
Salmons, a 34-year-old guard/forward, has played 12 NBA seasons. He played for the Kings and Raptors last season. In 78 games he averaged 5.2 points and 2.1 rebounds.
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