Kings sending guard Bibby to Hawks for four players

Updated: February 22, 2008, 11:35 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks are trying to balance out their backcourt and make a playoff push by bringing in Mike Bibby.

Hawks coach Mike Woodson said Bibby, acquired from the Sacramento Kings for four players on Saturday, will provide scoring help for Joe Johnson. Atlanta's All-Star shooting guard often faces gimmick defenses because he's the team's only outside shooting threat.

Elias Says

Mike Bibby was traded by the Kings to the Hawks on Saturday. In six-plus seasons in Sacramento, Bibby had 8,384 points and 2,580 assists. Only three other players in the history of the franchise (which entered what is now known as the NBA in 1948 as the Rochester Royals) have scored 8,000 points and handed out 2,500 assists: Oscar Robertson (22,009 points, 7,731 assists), Nate Archibald (10,984, 3,499) and Sam Lacey (9,895, 3,563).

• Read more Elias Says

"There's another option now," Woodson said. "It'll be like a one-two punch in the backcourt."

Bibby has averaged 16.7 points for his career and is making more than 36 percent of his 3-point shots for the ninth straight year.

The Hawks sent starting point guard Anthony Johnson, 2007 first-round pick Shelden Williams, backup point guard Tyronn Lue, veteran forward Lorenzen Wright and a 2008 second-round pick to the Kings.

The Hawks, in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and percentage points behind the eighth and final playoff spot, are trying to make the postseason for the first time since 1999.

Woodson and Michael Gearon Jr., one of the team's owners, were pleased the team did not have to touch its core of promising young players to acquire Bibby.

"We've still got Marvin [Williams] and Josh Smith and Josh Childress; we were able to keep the core group together, along with Al Horford and Zaza [Pachulia]," Woodson said.

The trade is pending league approval and physicals.

Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said Bibby is expected to join the team in Los Angeles on Monday, where he will have his physical. The Hawks play at the Lakers on Tuesday night and play at the Kings on Wednesday night.

Bibby, a 10-year veteran, missed the start of the season with a thumb injury but is averaging 13.5 points and 5.0 assists in 15 games.

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"I want to thank Mike for his terrific all-around play," Kings president Geoff Petrie said in a statement. "He's had a great run here as a King and has participated in and contributed to some great moments on the court and I wish him all the best."

With Bibby gone, the Kings have cut almost all ties to their highly successful teams of the early part of this decade.

Bibby came to the Kings from the Vancouver Grizzlies in a trade before the 2001-02 season and helped Sacramento reach the Western Conference finals that season, establishing himself as a go-to-guy late in games.

With Bibby, Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac, coach Rick Adelman's Kings were one of the best and most entertaining teams in the NBA for five seasons, but they never reached the NBA Finals.

Now the Kings are in the midst of a major rebuilding project. They're 23-28 at the All-Star break and have no need for a 29-year-old point guard.

Gearon said his team's new backcourt of Bibby and Joe Johnson "will be as good as any in the East."

"I think Bibby will be one of the top three point guards in the East," Gearon said.

"He's capable of going one-on-one, hitting clutch shots, breaking defenses and leading this team."

Bibby is making about $13.5 million this season and will earn $14 million in 2008-09.

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"From our standpoint it's a big commitment financially and one we feel good about," Gearon said. "We've got a guy to take a lot of pressure off Joe, and he's a leader. We're excited about getting him in a Hawks uniform."

By trading Anthony Johnson and Lue, the Hawks also are committing to rookie point guard Acie Law, who should receive more consistent playing time as Bibby's backup.

"I think it's a good move or us to get a guy who's run a team for many years," said Woodson of Bibby. "It's an opportunity to start fresh in Atlanta, for a different team, and put a stamp on our team."

Also on Saturday, the Kings requested waivers on forward Justin Williams and guard Dahntay Jones.

Shelden Williams averaged 5.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, with eight double-doubles, as a rookie, when he started 31 games. He has no starts while averaging only 2.9 points and 2.9 rebounds this season.

Williams has another year remaining on his rookie deal that is paying him $3.3 million per year. The contracts for Anthony Johnson, Lue and Wright expire at the end of the season.

"We're excited about adding another young frontcourt player who was the fifth pick of the 2006 draft in Williams, along with some experienced veterans to the team," Petrie said. "We're looking forward to seeing how they integrate in with the rest of our roster."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press