Those perennial losers the Atlanta Hawks, currently tied with New Jersey and Philadelphia for the 7th spot in the East, have made a big acquisition, getting point guard Mike Bibby from the Sacramento Kings for Anthony Johnson, Shelden Williams, Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright, and a 2008 second-round pick. The main part of the deal is Williams, who has been in the doghouse this year in Atlanta, but the Kings also gain a lot of payroll flexibility since the other players all have expiring contracts.
Any owners who have Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Josh Childress, Acie Law, or Bibby are thrilled by the acquisition. The Hawks, besides becoming a legitimate contender for the playoffs in the East, now boast one of the best backcourts in basketball. Bibby, although predominantly a scorer, will bring another ball-handler and outside presence to the Hawks, which will open up the offense and allow Johnson, Williams, Smith, and the rest of the lineup more open looks. By trading away two point guards, the Hawks are also committing themselves to rookie Acie Law at backup point guard, and with Bibby’s injury history, will gain much more consistent playing time. It seems this move is great for the Hawks and anyone who owns their players.
On the other side, the current Kings will also benefit from more shots. Francisco Garcia and John Salmons, who received significant playing time due to early injuries to Bibby and Ron Artest, will receive more minutes and have proved themselves as consistent performers. Brad Miller has had a great year and should continue to do so without Bibby. However, the one player this seems to hurt mightily is Ron Artest, who will no doubt complain about this “white flag” trade (in parentheses since the Kings are definitely not in contention anyways, so they really gave up months ago) and demand his own exit out of Sacramento. While the other players may be able to play through this loss, it seems that fantasy-owners may have to deal with headaches until Artest is gone, too.
Although it may seem like the Kings got nothing substantial in the deal, in reality, this should be a win for both teams. The Hawks get their starting point guard and an outside presence (beyond Johnson) and the Kings get flexibility to rebuild. I don’t think Popovich will complain this time since Bibby is now in the East.
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