The Hawks wanted to shake things up after being swept in the playoffs. In fact, they have completely transformed their roster. Yesterday, they landed F Lorenzen Wright in a trade with the Clippers. That move followed the trading of the Hawks' longtime starting guards, Mookie Blaylock and Steve Smith; the acquisition of Gs Isaiah Rider, Jim Jackson and Bimbo Coles; and the selection of three players in the first round of the college draft.
The shakeup began after Atlanta was swept by the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs. Virtually overnight, the Hawks have changed from aging, slow and thin to young, quick and deep. Smith and Blaylock are in their thirties; Rider, Jackson and Wright are in their twenties.
Wright, who was the No. 7 pick in the 1997 draft, averaged 6.6 points and 7.5 rebounds last season, splitting time at center with Michael Olowokandi and at forward with Maurice Taylor. With the Hawks, he should fill a similar role behind Dikembe Mutombo and Alan Henderson.
In exchange for Wright, the Clippers get a No. 1 draft pick from the Hawks and a lottery-protected selection that originally belonged to Toronto.
"I just wanted to get to a winning situation, get to an established team that's already winning so I can win," said Wright, who agreed to a seven-year deal worth about $42 million after turning down a six-year, $30 million offer from the Clippers.