The Toronto Raptors have acquired Lou Williams and 2013 first-round pick Lucas Nogueira from the Atlanta Hawks for John Salmons, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The move gives Toronto a useful rotation player and the Hawks additional cap space if they waive Salmons and his partially guaranteed contract as expected.
Williams is slated to make $5.4 million next year, the final season of his contract. Salmons, meanwhile, is on the hook for $7 million, but has only a $1 million cap hit if waived between now and the end of the day Monday. The Hawks are expected to make that concurrent move to open up enough cap space to fit in a maximum contract. They are long shots for top free agents such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but this would give them the financial ability to sign them.
For that right, they sacrificed Williams, once one of the league's top bench scorers, and Nogueira, a razor-thin big man. Williams was a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in 2011-12, but has not been the same player since tearing his ACL midway through his first season in Atlanta. He shot just 40 percent from the field last season and did not have the same explosion that allowed him to get off any shot he wanted. Nevertheless, he will turn just 28 before next season and will give the Raptors some bench punch. He could end up replacing Greivis Vasquez, the team's backup point guard who is a restricted free agent.
Nogueira, the 16th pick in last year's draft, spent last season playing off the bench for Estudiantes in the Spanish league, where he showed nice bounce in limited minutes, but struggled with foul trouble. He still needs to add muscle to his frame, but he's an intriguing 21-year-old big man prospect. It's unclear if he will make his way over to the NBA this season.