The NBA world was shaken by the reported trade that will send Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in an effort to join forces with James Harden on a contending squad. Now, the Atlanta Hawks are joining in the fun, albeit on the periphery, as the team announced a deal that sends Ryan Kelly to the Houston Rockets for cash considerations.
In short, the Rockets need to aggregate salary in order to make the Paul trade, which includes former Hawk Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and more, work under the NBA’s trade rules. Kelly’s salary sits at only $286,785 for the 2016-2017 season and, because the league year has not changed yet, that is the number factored in for any trade prior to July 1.
Kelly’s salary is non-guaranteed for $1,577,230 next season and that also plays a part in providing flexibility to his new team, presumably the Los Angeles Clippers. It is conceivable (as noted by Chris Vivlamore of the AJC) that Kelly could be released and become available again in the near future and, given their recent transactional history, the Hawks seem to like Kelly as a player. It should be noted, though, that Kelly would have to be released before July 1 in order to return to Atlanta within a calendar year.
Still, the Hawks are down one more player in terms of the roster for the immediate time frame (though they generate a small trade exception) and Ryan Kelly could be moved more than once before July 1.