It has been no secret that the Atlanta Hawks have been shopping Lou Williams and his $5+ million expiring contract for quite some time, but when the 2014 NBA Draft came and went without Williams being moved, things seemed to be quiet. However, the Hawks have reportedly made a wildly interesting trade as of Sunday evening, as they will send Williams and 2013 first round pick Lucas Nogueira to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for veteran swingman John Salmons.
Toronto has traded John Salmons to Atlanta for Lou Williams and Bebe Nugiera, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
In addition to the shear dynamics of moving both Williams and Nogueira, there is an incredibly interesting sidebar to this move in the form of Salmons' contract. Due to the terms of his deal, Atlanta assumes the option to waive Salmons and his $7 million deal, and if they choose to do so, they will owe him only $1 million for the trouble. Adrian Wojnarowski was quick to add this in to the details of the report, and with the Hawks seemingly looking to clear cap space, that appears to be the direction of the move.
Williams has been an integral part of Atlanta's roster since arriving from Philadelphia prior to the 2012-2013 season, but after an ACL tear sapped his explosiveness, the local product hasn't been the same player. This has led to a seemingly endless amount of speculation about his future whereabouts, but having to move Nogueira and his considerable upside just to clear the decks seems to be an incredibly high price to pay.
The 21-year-old Nogueira did not arrive in Atlanta after being selected in the first round last season, but he was impressive at times during a Summer League stint with the Hawks, and his athleticism and ability to protect the rim are incredibly intriguing. It remains to be seen what Danny Ferry plans to do with this newfound cap flexibility, but ridding the roster of Nogueira will be a highly scrutinized decision unless a "big" move is on the way.
Stay tuned for the latest on this situation, but it appears as if the Lou Williams (and Lucas Nogueira) era in Atlanta has come to an end.
Hawks will waive Salmons. His contract had a team option for $7 million. #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) June 30, 2014