Last week, rumors circulated around Atlanta forward Marvin Williams and his reported request to be traded. While the report was squashed shortly after it came out, the rumor coincidentely happens to be backed by the lowest workload Williams has seen since 2007. In other words, even if Williams didn’t request a trade, now might be an appropriate time for him to do so.
Williams is playing the fewest minutes per game of his entire career (10 fewer minutes per game than he did in the 2009 season) which is incredible given the injury issues Atlanta has seen in their frontcourt this year. If he is in fact unhappy with his role in the Hawks’ offense, he may have a logical reason. Despite the team losing Jamal Crawford to free agency before the season—a player who never met a shot he didn’t want to marry—the 25-year-old veteran’s field goal attempts are the lowest they’ve been since he was a 19-year-old rookie. All this while finally showing some serious improvement in his three-point shot. Williams is taking more threes per 36 minutes than at any point in his career, and making a personal best 43.2% of them.
Atlanta is over the cap, but barely under the luxury tax, so if they were lucky enough to find a potential suitor for Williams’ services (his contract isn’t attractive), it wouldn’t be with the intention of bringing back any increase in salary.
One possible deal that could either work out for both teams (and players), or leave everyone hardly noticing a trade was made at all, would be Marvin Williams to Washington for the talented, yet oft-maligned Andray Blatche. Both players have worn out their welcome with the franchises that drafted them, and both could see an uptick in production when placed in a new situation. Atlanta still needs depth in their frontcourt; pairing Blatche with Josh Smith and a healthy Al Horford next year could make the team’s weakness a strength.
The move would also allow Washington to amnesty Rashard Lewis—Williams could slide in as the long-term replacement—and not have to overpay players just to meet the minimum salary line. He’s never been an elite defender or potent offensive threat, but if placed in a new situation, surrounded by young athletes, Marvin Williams could have a large impact on basketball games.
Blatche is owed approximately 6.6MM more in guaranteed money over the course of their respective contracts, but Atlanta would save $2.2MM over the next two years. It’s a risky deal, but an interesting one.