The Atlanta Hawks made a surprise move on Sunday, trading veteran guard Lou Williams and the draft rights to 2013 first-round selection Lucas Nogueira to the Toronto Raptors for John Salmons, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The move was obviously to clear cap space, as Salmons’ $7 million contract could be waived, and the Hawks would only be on the hook for $1 million.
The Hawks also received a 2015 second-round pick in the deal.
“The trade allows us greater flexibility as we continue to build our team and add players that best fit how we want to continue to grow as a program.” GM Danny Ferry said in the official news release. “Lou has been really good for us. We would like to thank him for his contributions over the past two seasons and the professionalism he displayed on and off the court. We wish him the best going forward.”
The Hawks and Salmons have reportedly agreed to extend the deadline to waive his contract to July 10th, but the outcome will remain the same — Salmons will be waived. This extra time likely means Ferry is dangling Salmons’ contract in trade talks to see if he can clear the number completely.
Some Hawks fans have lamented the idea of giving up Nogueira before he even suited up for Atlanta, but with his bad knees and unproven talent, the risk is minimal.
Lou Williams came off the bench during his two seasons with the Hawks, and at times had some special moments. Had he not tore his ACL last season at Brooklyn, things might have been different. He was effective as a gunner, and his scoring helped propel Atlanta to the playoffs both years he was here.
This trade means the Hawks now have about $15.5 million in cap space to spend on free agents.