Atlanta Hawks Really Want a Point Guard

Ridnour on the move?

When Speedy Claxton and Tyronn Lue are currently your only options to start at the pivotal point guard spot, even the most incompetent GM knows an upgrade is in order.

ETB previously reported on one of the many offseason, pre-draft rumors making the rounds, one that would see the Trail Blazers’ Jarrett Jack move to Atlanta in exchange for a pick. The latest update now has the Hawks chatting with the Sonics about swapping the #11 overall pick in tomorrow’s draft for four-year veteran Luke Ridnour. According to “three NBA sources,” the Sonics have actually put the deal on the table and are waiting for a response:

The Sonics are eager to begin the restructuring of their roster and have offered the Atlanta Hawks point guard Luke Ridnour for the No. 11 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, and the trade could be consummated Wednesday, according to three NBA sources.

If the Hawks accept Seattle’s offer, the Sonics would own two of the first 11 picks and four of the first 35, and potentially could deal the Nos. 31 and 35 picks for perhaps another first-rounder or future picks.

Atlanta is seeking a pure point guard who can serve as a distributor. The best-case scenario for the Hawks is that he turns into a Steve Nash type who becomes a master of running their up-tempo offense. Atlanta wants to compete in the East immediately and taking Crittenton or Ohio State freshman Mike Conley Jr. is a pick for the future. Ridnour, 26, could be entering his prime and has proven to be a solid passer with a dependable jumper — when he is at his best.

Are the up-and-coming Hawks better off landing a still-youngish point guard with NBA experience, or rolling the dice on a guy who could eventually dwarf Ridnour in terms of production and overall talent? It’s hard to say. Ridnour is coming off a disappointing season in Seattle, and struggled to stave off Earl Watson for starter minutes. Still, he would provide some stability for Atlanta, and could greatly benefit from a change of scenery. The alternative is for Atlanta to spend either the #3 pick on Mike Conley Jr. and hope he catches on quickly, or use it on a, say, Al Horford and wait to pick the best available PG prospect with the #11 pick (likely Acie Law or Javaris Crittenton).

It’s true, the Hawks already have a bevy of young players, and if they feel like a vet like Ridnour can help them win now and legitimately compete in the playoffs now, they should consider pulling the trigger. For our money, however, Jack is a better option, though that option may be off the table at this point. Too bad a potential deal for reigning Most Improved Player, Golden State’s Monta Ellis, apparently fell through–that would have cemented Atlanta as, perhaps, the most exciting young team to watch in the NBA next year. Stay tuned.


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