The Atlanta Hawks did a bit of cost-cutting on Sunday night.
They sent veteran guard Lou Williams and the 16th-overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Lucas “Bebe” Nugiera, to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for veteran swingman John Salmons. The final year of Salmons’ contract in the 2014-2015 season is worth $7 million, but he can be bought out for just $1 million and become an unrestricted free agent. The Hawks plan to do just that.
Williams is owed $5,450,000 for the 2014-2015 season so the Hawks will save that money and the money they would have owed Nugiera, a Brazilian 7-footer who currently plays for Tuenti Movil Estudiantes in Liga ACB in Spain, if he decided to come over to play in the NBA next season. Nugiera would have made approximately $1.4 million in the 2014-2o15 season.
The Hawks are reportedly one of the teams that believes they can be a landing sport for Miami Heat forward LeBron James and New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony, but that seems like a long shot.
However, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Hawks could be clearing that space to make a run at Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward Luol Deng.
One strong candidate for that $15M-plus of fresh salary cap space in Atlanta, league sources tell Yahoo: Free agent forward Luol Deng.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
The Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors are all expected to show interest in Deng as well.
Deng averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 43.1% from the field, 30.2% from three and 79.1% from the charity stripe