The Hawks waived forward Magnum Rolle and guards Pape Sy and Brad Wanamaker today. More cuts are coming later today: The roster now stands at 16, one more than the maximum, and it’s possible Atlanta will carry the minimum 13 players for the regular season.
UPDATE: The Hawks waived center Keith Benson, their only draft pick in June. The team plans to carry 15 on the roster to start the season. There are four players on the roster with non-guaranteed deals: Ivan Johnson, Jannero Pargo, Donald Sloan, and Jerry Stackhouse.
The decisions on Rolle and Wanamaker were not unexpected but the Hawks gave up on Sy after investing in him as a long-term prospect. Coach Larry Drew said Sy’s inability to develop as a point guard played a part in the decision.
“We, the coaches and the management, came to an agreement that he’s been a little bit more effective off the ball than at the point,” Drew said. “With that and the acquisition of Willie Green and [having] a number of other guys that are veterans that can play two, he became expendable. We were hoping he would mature and develop but he just seemed more comfortable at that two-guard spot. With that, we made the decision to go in a different direction.”
Sy, a native of France, made his way to the NBA as a a rare unknown prospect–prominent Web sites that track numerous draft-eligible players had no file on Sy before Atlanta selected him in the second of the 2010 draft. Sy had paid his own way to work out for the Hawks, the only team to grant him an audience, and impressed Drew.
The Hawks paid about $125,000 to buy out Sy’s French contract last year and paid him $473,604 in salary in 2010-11. He played a total of 21 minutes for the Hawks last season and spent 23 games with Atlanta’s D-League affiliate.
Sy had a good training camp but Atlanta’s payroll is pushing against the luxury-tax line, leaving little room for carrying players who can’t help the team now. The Hawks added guards Green and Pargo during training camp.
“It was a really tough decision,” Drew said. “There were a lot of things we liked about Pape.”
When the Hawks drafted Benson, they said he was a long-term prospect because he needed to add bulk and strength. But Benson, like Sy, appears to be a victim of Atlanta’s focus on veterans at the expense of carrying prospects who need time to develop. Benson was released by a club team in Italy during the lockout.
Rolle signed with the Hawks near the end of last season and re-joined the team following a stint in South Korea. He came into camp out of shape after he said a right foot injury hampered him from maintaining his conditioning.
Wanamaker, a rookie free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh, struggled during last night’s exhibition victory against Charlotte.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat