1:39pm: The Hawks have announced both Kelly’s signing and Tavares’ release in a pair of press releases, making the moves official.
12:02pm: The Hawks will become the first team to make a change to their 15-man, regular-season roster. Less than a week into the season, Atlanta is releasing center Edy Tavares and intends to sign Ryan Kelly to fill the open roster spots, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter).
The 43rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, Tavares joined the Hawks last season, appearing in just 11 games and averaging 6.6 minutes per contest. The 24-year-old Cape Verde native also made 29 D-League appearances, averaging 9.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 3.3 BPG in 21.6 minutes per game. While Tavares is viewed as a raw prospect with potential, the Hawks have apparently decided his roster spot can be better used on a more seasoned player.
Kelly, 25, was waived by the Hawks earlier this month, having previously spent his first three seasons in the NBA as a member of the Lakers. After averaging 22.9 minutes per contest during his first two years in Los Angeles, Kelly saw his playing time reduced last season, as he played just 13.1 MPG in 36 contests. He averaged 4.2 PPG and 3.4 RPG in those games, shooting just 36.9% from the floor, 13.5% from beyond the arc, and 68.5% from the line.
Kelly signed with the Celtics after being cut by the Hawks, though he was quickly waived by Boston as well, so it looked like the C’s wanted to gain his D-League rights. Rather than heading to the D-League though, Kelly is on his way back to an NBA roster, and figures to sign a minimum-salary deal with the Hawks.
As for Tavares, his $1MM salary for 2016/17 was fully guaranteed, so the Hawks will have to pay it unless he’s claimed on waivers later this week. The club won’t be on the hook for his 2017/18 salary worth $1.015MM, since it was non-guaranteed.
The Bulls claimed R.J. Hunter off waivers last week after the regular season had gotten underway, but Chicago had an opening on its roster, so no corresponding move was necessary. As such, the Hawks will become the first team in 2016/17 to actually replace one player with another on their regular-season roster.