By Brian Windhorst
The San Antonio Spurs have traded center Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that could set up several other free-agent moves, sources said.
The move is expected to clear $8.5 million off the Spurs' books, putting them in position to offer free agent LaMarcus Aldridge a maximum contract, sources said. The Spurs are planning to meet with Aldridge on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
The Hawks are still working out details of the trade but are expected to absorb Splitter into cap space, sources said. Atlanta may have to make a second maneuver or cut Austin Daye and Mike Muscala, who have nonguaranteed contracts, but it is still in position to have as much as $18 million in cap space even with the Splitter acquisition.
That allowed the Hawks to have the ability to offer free-agent forward Paul Millsap a three-year, $59 million contract. Millsap received a four-year $80 million offer from the Orlando Magic, but elected to stay in Atlanta where his deal features a player option after the second year that affords him the opportunity to reach free agency as the salary cap is expected to spike.
By trading for Splitter, the Hawks have braced themselves for a Millsap exit. If he signs with the Magic, the Hawks can start Splitter at center and move All-Star Al Horford to his more natural position of power forward.
Also Wednesday, forward DeMarre Carroll announced on Twitter that he was leaving the Hawks after agreeing to a deal with the Toronto Raptors.
Splitter, a defensive specialist who averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Spurs last season, has two years and $17 million left on his contract. But as part of the trade, he will receive a $2.5 million trade kicker that will be added to his salary.
The move will reunite him with Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who previously was an assistant with the Spurs.