NBA Trade Rumors: Should Atlanta Hawks Trade Marvin Williams?

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 15:  Marvin Williams #24 of the Atlanta Hawks handles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 15, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Hawks defeated the Suns 101-99.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Murmurs emerged this week suggesting that the Atlanta Hawks' Marvin Williams may be looking for greener pastures where he can display his improved offensive game. Williams is averaging 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in his seventh season out of North Carolina.

Drafted second overall by the Hawks in 2005, Williams has thus far been something of a disappointment for the Hawks. His most productive season came in 2007-'08, when he scored nearly 15 points a game in just over 34 minutes of action.

While his current numbers indicate a steep decline, Larry Drew has steadily reduced Williams' playing time to a career-low 24.2 minutes a game this season.

The claim that Williams would like to become a more featured offensive option may appear bizarre given his career-low shooting percentage of 43 percent. However, the Hawks' small forward (still only 25 years old) has dramatically improved his long-range game and is shooting the three ball at 44 percent. 

There's little doubt Williams could get more than eight shots per game on another team, but getting him to that team might not be so easy. 

Williams has another year left on his current contract and a player-option for the 2013-'14 season at a relatively affordable $7.5 million. That may seem like a lot to pay for his production, but there's also reason to believe Williams is only now coming into his prime and may flourish with a change of scenery.

At 6'9'', Williams has the length to play both forward positions and collect his share of rebounds, while spreading the floor on offense thanks to his new found range. Without an especially quick first step, or a post-game worth mentioning, however, there's also a case to be made that Williams' skills are still one-dimensional for the time being.

As Atlanta struggles to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference without starting center Al Horford, it's hard to imagine the team parting with Williams for cap relief alone. Tracy McGrady would certainly appreciate the additional playing time, but barring an absolute collapse, the Hawks are in no position to lose talent.

With Stephen Jackson still wanting out of Milwaukee, perhaps switching he and Williams would give both players the opportunities they seek. That presupposes, of course, that Scott Skiles and Larry Drew would be less stingy in allocating minutes to their new acquisitions (hardly a guarantee).

Williams' best opportunities for playing time and shots would probably come with a squad that's rebuilding.

Cleveland could use an upgrade at the three, and while they could swap center Anderson Varejao to a Hawks' team desperate for a temporary Al Horford replacement, all indications are that Cleveland is unlikely to move their energetic rebounder.

Charlotte's Tyrus Thomas (already rumored to be included in trade discussions) would also be a great fit, and a deal for Marvin Williams might make some sense for both sides. The Bobcats could certainly use the scoring (and any kind of shakeup for that matter), and Atlanta would get some size for its depleted front line. There's also the possibility that Williams, a former Tar Heel, would enjoy a return to the Carolinas.

Williams is originally from the Northwest, and though the Trail Blazers don't look like a good match (with Gerald Wallace and Nic Batum at small forward), the Sacramento Kings certainly fit the bill of a rebuilding team in need of help on the wing. If there's any momentum behind Seattle's hope to land the unsettled Kings' franchise, a move to Sacramento might soon mean a move home if Williams found his way there.

For the time being, playing matchmaker for Williams is a matter of sheer speculation. For its part, Atlanta is unlikely to make any move unless it can gain talent that will help make another postseason run. If locker room woes continue in Atlanta, the front office might find itself pressuring coach Larry Drew to make some changes before it begins dismantling the roster.

Time will tell whether or not these are frustrations that can be healed or something intractable enough to warrant a trade. As disgruntled as Williams may currently be, he'll get neither minutes nor a trade unless he continues to improve. If he shows any of the upside the Hawks saw in him when they took him second in the draft, getting minutes won't be a problem.