After bringing him in after Joe Johnson’s elbow surgery, the Hawks waived forward Damien Wilkins Wednesday. The move came five days before the date in which the team would have had to guarantee his salary for the remainder of the season if he were on the roster.
Wilkins, a Georgia product and veteran of seven NBA seasons, played his final game for the team in its Tuesday win over Sacramento.
In 13 games, Wilkins averaged 13.1 minutes, scoring 2.5 points per game and giving the Hawks an energy boost off the bench. He helped fill a void opened after Johnson underwent elbow surgery, an absence that lasted two weeks. Signed Dec. 3, Wilkins impressed teammates with his defensive efforts against the likes of Miami’s LeBron James.
“I love his toughness on defense,” center Al Horford said shortly after Wilkins’ signing. “It’s something we need. I’m saying it now: I hope we keep him and he’s with us for the long run.”
Johnson also spoke in favor of keeping Wilkins, the nephew of Hawks legend and broadcaster Dominique Wilkins, for the remainder of the season.
One factor working against Wilkins was the number of players at his position. Johnson, Mo Evans, Marvin Williams and Josh Smith all play the small forward spot like Wilkins.
With 13 players on the roster, the Hawks do not need to replace Wilkins’ spot.