Miami Heat: Shawne and Reggie Williams Signing Grade

Miami Heat: Shawne and Reggie Williams Signing Grade
Nekias Duncan, Lead Writer/Hoopstuff…
With the roster nearly set, the Miami Heat decided to add some more wing depth by adding a pair of Williams’, Shawne and Reggie.
Shawne Williams, a 6’9 forward from Memphis, played a stint for the Lakers last season as a hybrid 3/4 under Mike D’Antoni. Williams averaged 5.6 ppg and 4.6 rpg in 20.9 mpg last season for Los Angeles. Williams is a 3 & D forward without much three; he’s only a 33.3% shooter from behind the arc for his career, although he does shoot 38.3% on corner threes for his career. However, Williams’ ability to guard 2s, 3s, and some 4s could prove to be valuable in a bench role.
On the other hand, forward Reggie Williams isn’t that good of a defender, but he CAN shoot the rock. This Williams is a career 37.1% three-point shooter, but hasn’t played much in the last two seasons, only averaging 9.5 mpg in Charlotte, and 5.7 mpg last year with the Thunder. Assuming he sticks …

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Williams savors entry into Naismith Hall of Fame (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this April 1, 2002, file photo, Maryland coach Gary Williams swings the net after his Terps beat Indiana 64-52 in the NCAA final in Atlanta. Williams will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

All the hard work and yes, sweat, was worth it for Gary Williams. Williams will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is an achievement the coach does not take lightly. ”Winning the national championship at Maryland and getting into the Hall of Fame, those two things are the highlights of my career,” Williams said in a telephone interview.


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Hawks trade Williams in three-player deal

The Hawks cut salary but give up a valuable bench scorer and intriguing prospect.

      
 

 

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Hawks’ Lou Williams Trade Shows Atlanta Is Serious About Luring Star Free Agent

Fresh off appearing in the postseason as the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed, the Atlanta Hawks are already busy making moves that could lead to even better results next time.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Chris Vivlamore, “The Hawks have agreed to a trade that will send Lou Williams and the rights to 2013 first-round draft pick Lucas Nogueira to the Raptors for John Salmons, according to a person familiar with the situation.”

The Hawks intend to waive Salmons in a move that will free up salary cap room,” Vivlamore writes.

The deal isn’t official just yet, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst are already hearing similar things: 

The Hawks, sources say, will immediately waive Salmons to expand their projected salary-cap space for this summer to $15.5 million, though one source cautioned Sunday that the move is more about flexibility and roster-shaping for the Hawks than any specific free-agent target.

So perhaps we can rule out the organization making a serious run at LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony, but the Hawks could still swing for the fences. The home run in this free-agent market would be finding some way to pair James and Anthony together.

Stein and Windhorst reported that “the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks are among the teams mulling potential trades designed to clear enough cap space to be able to recruit the two stars and close friends.”

Apart from the home run scenario, Stein and ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne also reported that “sources told ESPN.com that the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat are two more teams that could join the race for Anthony.”

While the Hawks are almost in position to make a run at Anthony, they’d likely need to make another move or two in order to have a shot at James as well.

It’s certainly doable, but the larger question is whether James or Anthony would be willing to forgo more established winning situations to join Atlanta.

Traditionally, the Hawks haven’t had much success attracting premier free-agent talent, and it’s hard to see them pulling ahead of other suitors like the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks or Los Angeles Lakers.

The more probable outcome isn’t quite as exciting, but the Hawks have certainly positioned themselves to improve the roster.

Assuming this trade goes through, general manager Danny Ferry will have ensured that Atlanta at the very least has the opportunity to target one or two second-tier free agents.

The organization could pursue an above-average small forward like Luol Deng, who’s reportedly on its radar.

Alternatively, it could even look at a big man Paul Gasol. It could even explore upgrades at the point guard position if it isn’t convinced Jeff Teague is the floor general of the future.

In one of his mock drafts, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (subscription required) revealed that Atlanta is, “not completely sold on Jeff Teague and could explore the market for him this summer.”

Should the Hawks deal Teague, a free agent like Kyle Lowry could also be on their radar.

Though the franchise may not have the pedigree desired by the likes of James or Anthony, it certainly has some pieces that could be appealing to other free agents. Center Al Horford is one of the better big men in the business, and—whether the Hawks are sold on him or not—the 26-year-old Teague has quietly shown flashes of All-Star play.

Teague averaged 19.3 points and five assists per contest in a seven-game first-round series against the Indiana Pacers during the playoffs.

One of the better fits in Atlanta might be unrestricted free agent Lance Stephenson. The Hawks could use a dynamic playmaker alongside spot-up shooters like Kyle Korver and Pero Antic. While the Pacers don’t want to lose Stephenson, they could be outbid by a club with Atlanta’s resources.

If the Hawks believe the 23-year-old Stephenson is a star in the making, they could give him a deal worth $8-10 million per year. Offering a comparable contract might be difficult for the money-tight Pacers to stomach—especially given concerns over the young guard’s maturity.

Whatever names Ferry and Co. have in mind, they’ve made it clear the Hawks will be players in this summer’s free-agent talks.

That’s really all you can ask from a team that’s clearly still a piece or two away from making serious noise in the East.

While the big names are sure to generate headlines, don’t be surprised if Atlanta takes a more measured approach this summer. Recall that the club made relatively modest signings this time last year, inking Williams and power forward Paul Millsap to very reasonable deals.

Millsap made $9.5 million last season and is due to earn the same next season.

Atlanta also re-signed sharpshooter Kyle Korver to a four-year, $24 million pact last summer.

None of those deals broke the bank, and they ensured a balanced rotation that wound up being good enough to make the postseason. That kind of approach could be the template the organization follows this time around.

Unless a big-name decision ends up favoring the Hawks, this team might not have much choice. Aiming for someone like Stephenson or Deng would meet a need on the wing, and it likely wouldn’t entail a max contract.

As easy as it is to overlook these Hawks when it comes to premier free-agent destinations, they could be quietly assembling a winner before our eyes.

With head coach Mike Budenholzer taking over last season after being groomed by none other than Gregg Popovich, this franchise suddenly has a foundation worth watching—a foundation that could be significantly stronger by summer’s end.

 

Contract information courtesy of HoopsHype.

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Are Raptors Preparing for Kyle Lowry’s Departure by Acquiring Lou Williams?

Kyle Lowry is just one of many players—along with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony—expected to dominate the headlines once the NBA’s free-agency period officially opens on July 1.

And while the Toronto Sun’s Doug Smith reported as recently as May 5 that Lowry has more than a soft spot for his adopted city, that’s not stopping the Toronto Raptors from making contingency plans.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore, the Raptors are on the cusp of completing a trade that would send John Salmons and a future second-round draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Lou Williams and Brazilian prospect Lucas Nogueira.

For the Raptors, the move serves a twofold purpose: Not only do they get a proven veteran capable of playing both guard positions, but they also push themselves even further under the salary cap, thereby giving them a better chance to either re-sign Lowry, fully convey either of their two qualifying offers or go after another free agent altogether.

As Vivlamore points out, while Williams’ knee injury may be a cause for some concern, his expiring deal means Toronto will have a bit more breathing room next summer should they go all in over the next few months:

Williams will make $5,450,000 next season, which was to be the final of a three-year free-agent deal he signed with the Hawks. Williams was the odd-man out in the Hawks guard rotation and was likely to be in the same position this season. Williams, who returned last season from a torn right ACL, did not play in a stretch of seven straight games in March as a coach’s decision.

As for Lowry, his potential suitors have already included the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Miami, according to a recent report by USA Today’s Sam Amick.

Facing such a daunting trio of heavy hitters, Toronto may have to dig a bit deeper into the franchise kitty if they have any chance of retaining Lowry, whose breakout 2013-14 season has him eyeing a much-deserved payday.

Indeed, it’s worth wondering whether the Raptors have changed their tune in the months since NBA.com’s David Aldridge reported the team was reluctant to give their floor general an All-Star payday:

The Raptors do not want to give Lowry a big-money contract this summer along the lines of what other point guards who’ve signed extensions recently: Denver‘s Ty Lawson (four years, $48 million), Golden State’s Stephen Curry (four years, $44 million) or New Orleans‘ Jrue Holiday (four years, $41 million from Philadelphia).

Once the Williams-Salmons trade is finalized, the Raptors will have around $40 million in committed salaries. Should they exercise Amir Johnson’s $7 million team option, that figure will rise to $47 million—still a full $16 million shy of the projected salary cap.

That’s where things get a bit tricky.

It’s certainly possible that a rival team in need of backcourt depth will trump the $3.2 million qualifying offer currently on the table for Greivis Vasquez, who emerged as a key part of Toronto’s rotation despite his ostensible role as Lowry’s primary backup.

According to the league’s CBA, teams have seven days to match an offer for a restricted free agent. Which means that, if Vasquez were to sign an offer sheet on, say, July 2, the Raptors would have to pull out every stop necessary to lure Lowry back within a week—if that’s indeed their plan.

If their gambit fails, they’d most certainly have to match Vasquez’s offer. Assuming it’s not exorbitant, of course.

Unless the Raptors have designs on another point guard altogether—unlikely, given this year’s crop—it’s hard to believe they’d be willing to enter the 2014-15 season with Lou Williams as their opening night starter.

What Williams is, then, is a worst-case stopgap, should Toronto somehow whiff on both Lowry and Vasquez. At best, he’s a versatile combo guard capable of providing much-needed scoring off the bench.

Needless to say, Toronto is hoping he’s the latter.

Fresh as the Raptors are off of their first playoff appearance in six years, it seems unlikely that that general manager Masai Ujiri and his team would willingly take two steps back—particularly given the franchise’s exciting, youth-laden core.

As such, it stands to reason Toronto is either preparing to make a run at Lowry or will match any and every offer for Vasquez in hopes that the 27-year-old can hold down the fort before next summer’s similarly compelling free-agent class.

If, on the other hand, the Raptors lose out on Lowry but retain Vasquez for a reasonable price—say something in the neighborhood of three years, $15 million—that would still give Toronto around $11 million (along with a $2 million mini mid-level exception) with which to fill out the roster.

Which naturally invites the question: Which would you rather have, Kyle Lowry and a spare bit of free-agent change, or Greivis Vasquez and a couple of legitimate rotation players?

Should another team quickly move on Vasquez, we could know the answer sooner than later.

Even if their efforts to re-sign Lowry ultimately fall short, however, Ujiri’s latest trade proves Toronto is prepared for just about every eventuality.

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Raptors Reportedly Trade John Salmons to Hawks for Lou Williams

The Toronto Raptors have reportedly kicked off the post-NBA draft trade frenzy by sending John Salmons to the Atlanta Hawks for Lou Williams and Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the trade:

Grantland’s Zach Lowe gave his take on the Hawks’ reasoning:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann’s suggests that the Hawks are highly likely to waive Salmons:

The 34-year-old Salmons is on the downslope of his NBA career; he averaged just 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest in 60 games with the Raptors last year. His age and diminished athleticism doesn’t make him a great fit for the Hawks’ three-point heavy offense.

If the Hawks do end up waving Salmons, the added cap space should allow them to make a run at a top-tier free agent this offseason. They also did well to move Williams, who’s due to earn $5.45 million in 2014-15, according to Spotrac.com.

The acquisition of Williams and Nogueira should alleviate some of the criticism Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri faced after his questionable choices at the NBA draft.

With the No. 20 overall pick, Ujiri selected relative-unknown Bruno Caboclo of Brazil, who few could have predicted going higher than the late second round. During the draft broadcast, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla described him as being “two years away from being two years away” in terms of his readiness to contribute to an NBA team. 

Williams, on the other hand, comes with no such concerns. The veteran combo guard has averaged 11.4 points and 3.1 assists per game over the course of his nine-year career. He can provide solid cover for the Raptors should point guard Kyle Lowry move on to another team as an unrestricted free agent.

Nogueira is another interesting Brazilian prospect for the Raptors to groom while they await the decision of Lowry. Ujiri clearly wants to build a team for the future with the likes of Nogueira and Caboclo in the fold, and stocking up on prospects is the best fit for a young team looking to make a run in a diluted Eastern Conference.

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2 assistants under Williams leave Marquette (Yahoo Sports)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Two assistant coaches who worked with Buzz Williams at Marquette have left the team.

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Williams wins over crowd at Virginia Tech intro (Yahoo Sports)

Buzz Williams says he’s taking over ”a sleeping giant” as Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball coach. The former Marquette coach was introduced Monday at Cassell Coliseum at what was part press conference and part pep rally with the cheerleaders, the dance team, the band, blaring music and much more fanfare, as well as free pizza to entice roughly 2,000 Hokies fans to turn out and celebrate the day. There’s a lot of work to be done,” Williams said of a program that has taken up residence in the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings recently. I’ll work at it every single day and I’ll do right by the institution, I’ll do right by this department, I’ll do right by our program and I’ll also do right by alumni and those that are in the community that support Virginia Tech.” Williams compiled a 139-69 record in six seasons at Marquette, leading the Golden Eagles to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances before they fell short this season, finishing 17-15.

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Marquette’s Buzz Williams takes Virginia Tech job

The 41-year-old Williams went 139-65 at Marquette.

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Massachusetts’ Chaz Williams Finds Maxie Esho for Alley-Oop Against Tennessee

The Massachusetts Minutemen had a tough second-round matchup against the Tennessee Volunteers, and a couple of players decided to make a statement with a big alley-oop.

Senior guard Chaz Williams found junior forward Maxie Esho on this exciting alley-oop in the first half on a fast break.

The Volunteers led 41-22 at halftime.

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