Hawks ink Sefolosha, waive Salmons as free agency begins

Thabo Sefolosha, one of the NBA's better on-the-ball defenders,
cumulatively drained 139 of 329 three-pointers for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons -- for a 42-percent clip.

Mark D. Smith

ATLANTA — With NBA free agency officially under way, the Atlanta Hawks have executed two separate deals to improve the roster and clear up salary-cap space.

On Thursday, the Hawks released veteran forward John Salmons, who was acquired in the trade with the Toronto Raptors — along with a second-round pick in 2015 — for guard Lou Williams and big man Lucas Nogueira, Atlanta’s first-round pick last summer.

On Friday, the club signed guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha to a multiyear deal (reportedly three years, $12 million).

The eight-year veteran and 2006 first-rounder averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, but Sefolosha’s primary contribution comes in the form of being a terrific on-the-ball defender against some of the NBA’s most versatile wing players.

Also, for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, Sefolosha cumulatively drained 139 of 329 three-pointers — for a 42-percent clip.

With the moves, the Hawks are still well under the salary cap (projected number: $63.2 million) by roughly $17 million.

And thanks to the Miami-or-Cleveland stalemate involving LeBron James — essentially putting the NBA on temporary shut-down mode until this major domino falls — Atlanta still has numerous free agents to pursue in the coming days.