The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Bibby to the Hawks in a (gasp) Smart Trade

Posted by Blake Murphy on February 16, 2008 is reporting that the Atlanta Hawks have just acquired Mike Bibby from the Sacramento Kings for Lorenzen Wright, Tyronne Lue, Anthony Johnson, and Shelden Williams.

All I can say for the Hawks is: it’s about time. They finally realized that they need a true point guard to lead the rest of their talented squad, and they managed to get him without giving up much from their regular rotation.

Anthony Johnson has played only out of necessity, since they are so thin at point guard. Ty Lue and Wright had fallen out of favor with Mike Woodson and were not playing much. And Shelden Williams, well, I always hated him and thought he wouldn’t make a good NBA player. The Hawks gave up next to nothing to get Bibby, an experienced floor general who can shoot the long ball and distribute to swingmen well. Bibby is averaging 13.5 points and 5 dimes with 39.3% three point shooting, but injuries and guard depth in Sac-town have caused a down year. It’s more appropriate to look at his career 16.7-6.5 numbers, as he’s still only 29 and has a lot of legs left.

For Sacramento, they get three expiring deals in Lue, Wright and Johnson, and they add some much needed front court depth to put behind Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes in Williams. While Williams doesn’t give them the post scoring they need, he is a complementary defensive chip to put next to Spencer Hawes moving forward.

The three expiring deals are huge for the Kings, especially if they can get a pick or more cap room (or a decent young player) for Ron Artest in the coming days. The salaries add up to $7.6M expiring and actually saves the Kings close to $11M next year, money they desperately needed to save to get under the cap.

I feel good right now because this deal solves the ‘wishlist’ needs I laid out for both teams earlier in the month, here and here.

This move doesn’t make the Hawks a favorite in the East by any means, but it almost certainly guarantees them the 6th seed with an outside shot at upsetting Orlando (Bibby also adds some playoff experience to this inexperienced squad). More importantly though, the Hawks have a point guard moving forward as their other young skill players develop. This is now a team that could make some noise in 2008-09, especially if they can use their mid level exception on a post scoring threat to pair with Big Al Horford. The Hawks lose their first rounder to Phoenix this summer, so smart signings will be key, though they have some pieces to make a summertime deal.

The Kings have officially bowed into the ping pong ball race in the West, a hotly contested race from seeds 11 to 15. As the best of the worst, the Kings made the right move here clearing cap space to help them build around their out-of-nowhere young core of Udrih-Martin-Garcia-Hawes, with veteran Brad Miller hanging around for experience and leadership. Ron Artest has to be on the move next, even if they can’t get fair market value. He has the potential to be cancerous to their young core and, while very affordable ($8M/year) for a player of his caliber, he doesn’t fit with the team moving forward.

This also frees up some roster space on the Hawks for big-man depth…enter the best big men in the D-League, who are really on display right now in the All Star Game (specifically, ex-Raptor Jelani McCoi, deaf player Lance Allred, ex-Spur Ian Mahinmi, and internet sensation Boom Tho Rod Benson).

It’s really nice, amid the strange Shaq, Gasol, and Kidd trades, to see a deal that very obviously benefits both teams. It’s a very intelligent yet rare win-win deal.

One Response to “Bibby to the Hawks in a (gasp) Smart Trade”

  1. Blake Murphy Says:

    By the way, I got this up before Hollinger’s response hit Take that!

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