The Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has acquired the shot blocking big man he was thought to be after in the draft except it’s the Hawks 2013 first round draft pick Lucas Nogueira of Sao Goncalo, Brazil who played for Estudiantes in Spain last year.
Ujiri traded John Salmons to the Hawks for Lou Williams and the rights to Nogueira. The Hawks have the right to buy out Salmons for $1 million on June 30 thus creating about $4.5 million of salary cap space for some yet unknown purpose. The Raptors pick up a 21-year-old center and a 27-year-old combo guard on a $5.5 million expiring contract.
Toronto has traded John Salmons to Atlanta for Lou Williams and Bebe Nugiera, source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
At the 2013 adidas EuroCamp Nogueira measured 7’ 220 lbs with a 7’6 wingspan and a 9’6 standing reach. This kid is long. He has a couple of years playing double-digit minutes in Spain under his belt and will turn 22-years-old in July. Nogueira has lots of potential if he can continue to develop his game, add some strength and stay healthy.
Peachtree Hoops reported that Nogueira missed about half of last season with knee tendinitis. In the 18 games he played last year, Nogueira averaged a career best 6.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.6 blocks in 16.6 minutes. Despite having one-year left on his deal with Estudiantes, he was expected to join the Hawks Summer League team. Peachtree Hoops estimated Lucas’ buyout for this season at about $800,000.
After signing a two-year deal with the Hawks in 2012, Williams missed over half the season following ACL surgery, but he returned in mid-November to play in 60 games last year. The 9-year veteran averaged 10.4 points and 3.5 assists in 24.1 minutes for the Hawks and his shooting improved over the season. It’s likely there has now been enough time since his surgery that Williams can continue his usual instant offense role off the bench for Toronto.
Once again Ujiri has managed to trade an asset he didn’t need into future potential.