Fire and forget.
Marvin Williams is a bona fide bust. The Atlanta Hawks didn’t select the 6’9”, 245-pound wing second overall to be nothing more than a capable starter. This summer they must use their amnesty clause on Williams and erase the evidence of their gaffe.
At the beginning of the season, ESPN labeled the former Tar Heel a likely amnesty casualty. But before I dive into why the Hawks must fly Williams out of ATL, let’s clear the air of one misconception.
Joe Johnson isn’t an amnesty candidate.
Yes, he’s overwhelmingly overpaid. His release would grant salary cap relief equivalent to that of what the chair at the end of the Miami Heat bench experiences when Eddy Curry stands up. As splendid as that feeling is to imagine, it isn’t realistic.
According to HoopsWorld, Atlanta still owes Johnson an average of approximately $22 million over the next four years. While that mammoth figure would vanish from the team’s salary, it’s super-glued to their payroll.
I don’t care if Donald Trump is part of the ownership—lighting around $90 million on fire isn’t bright. Atlanta must cling on to Johnson no matter how painful of a burden he’ll be to carry. But at least he’s talented enough to be a top-three player on a championship-caliber team.
And you can’t say the same for Williams.
The 25-year-old small forward averaged 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season. Those numbers mirror his production over the last two years. Translation: he isn’t getting any better.
Now, his scoring output isn’t embarrassing for the fifth option on an offense. But his salary demands he play more than a fifth option role.
Williams will make $8.3 million next year—$8.3 million for a man who scored a grand total of 16 points in the first four games against the Boston Celtics this postseason. His poor player triggered ESPN's John Hollinger to tweet this during the Hawks’ Game 4 blowout…
Fact I'd like to hear announcers mention: Marvin Williams can't get on the floor because Tracy McGrady and Willie Green are outplaying him.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) May 7, 2012
While Williams dropped 15 in Game 5, Atlanta can’t expect him to shoot 50 percent from downtown consistently which is exactly how he managed to reach that mark. He only shot 39 percent during the regular season. And that’s actually a major outlier from his career average of 33 percent.
If the Hawks had a capable three-point shooter next to Johnson, they’d actually possess the potential to be more than first-round fodder. That fact provoked Matt Moore of CBS Sports to ask the question…
If you replaced Marvin Williams with Anthony Morrow, how much better are the Hawks?— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 9, 2012
Ray Allen is a free agent this summer. Johnson definitely boasts the size to slide over to the 3. I’m just saying.
But Allen or not, Williams isn’t worth $8.3 million. If the Hawks hold on to him for another year, it’d be a mistake.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.