Mo Williams was traded to the Hornets on Tuesday but their interest in the veteran point guard dated back to last summer when he was on the free-agent market, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The Hornets were shopping for a backup to Kemba Walker but ultimately settled on Brian Roberts, Bonnell adds. Their interest in Williams was rekindled when Walker suffered a knee injury that will sideline him until at least early March, Bonnell notes.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Nets coach Lionel Hollins expects to have the same roster after the trade deadline, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. Any move by the Nets would likely involve Deron Williams, Joe Johnson or Brook Lopez but the market for them is underwhelming because of their salaries and, particularly in Williams’ case, a lack of production, Bontemps adds. The fact that the Nets must swap first-round picks with the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks, courtesy of their acquisition of Johnson in 2012, leaves them no incentive to strip the roster to increase their chances of moving into the lottery, Bontemps notes.
- John Wall feels the Wizards need to add another play-making guard or wing player to the second unit, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports. Rather than making a deal, the Wizards could wait to fill that spot with a free agent bought out of his contract after the trade deadline or an overseas pickup, Castillo notes. Former Pistons point guard Will Bynum, who is currently playing in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, could fill the void when the CBA playoffs end, Castillo adds. Wall told Castillo that he endorses Bynum’s skill set and competitive nature.
- Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton could be moved before the trade deadline as the Celtics continue their quest to shed salary and stockpile draft picks, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Both will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Bass, who is averaging 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds, is making $6.9MM this season. Thornton, who is averaging 8.9 PPG, has a $8.575MM salary.
- The Hawks will have to give All-Star Paul Millsap a substantial raise to retain him, according to Paul Newberry of the Associated Press. That’s just what Millsap planned when he left the Jazz to sign with Atlanta for what turned out to be a bargain rate of two years and $19MM, Newberry adds. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.