ATLANTA (AP) –– The Atlanta Hawks, looking for more front-line help as they attempt to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff race, acquired 37-year-old forward Antawn Jamison from the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.
The Clippers received the rights to shooting guard Cenk Akyol, a 2005 second-round pick now playing in Turkey.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was Cleveland’s GM when Jamison played for the Cavaliers in the 2009-10 season.
“He is and always has been the ultimate professional and high-class guy,” Ferry said. “That’s his trademark within the NBA.”
Ferry said he’ll talk with Jamison within the next two days to determine the forward’s interest in playing with the Hawks.
Jamison has not played in 16 of the last 17 games with the Clippers. He has appeared in only 22 games this season, averaging 11.4 minutes, 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds.
For his career, the 6-foot-9 Jamison has averaged 18.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 16 seasons with Golden State, Washington, Cleveland, the Lakers and the Clippers.
By trading the rights to Akyol, the depleted Hawks made an inexpensive gamble that Jamison could give the team a much-needed boost.
The Hawks, hurt by injuries, have lost seven straight, falling from third to seventh in the Eastern Conference race.
Atlanta had only nine players in uniform for Wednesday night’s 114-97 loss to Washington.
The most critical depth shortage is center, where the team is down to its fourth starter. All-Star Al Horford was lost for the season on Dec. 26 with a torn right pectoral muscle. Backup Pero Antic is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right ankle.
The Hawks’ third starting center, Gustavo Ayon, didn’t play against the Wizards after hurting his right shoulder in Tuesday night’s loss at Indiana.
Ferry said Ayon will miss at least two more games.
“That’s very tough for our group,” Ferry said. “We’re going to be undersized most nights.”
Ferry said the return of Antic or Ayon would “get our group more whole” but he added “we won’t be completely whole the rest of the year.”
“In the NBA, injuries are part of it. You can’t use them as excuses but there’s also reality to that,” Ferry said.
Also, starting guard DeMarre Carroll has missed three straight games with a left hamstring strain. Point guard Jeff Teague tweaked his left ankle in Wednesday night’s game and is with the team for Friday night’s game at Detroit.
Ferry acknowledged the injuries have changed the way he views the Hawks’ outlook in the weak Eastern Conference.
“Teams are in different phases of their building stages, but it seems a lot of teams in the East, probably other than Miami and Indiana, were in that phase of trying to really build up,” Ferry said.
“For us, we felt we were in an opportunistic period if healthy to capitalize on that. Obviously with the injuries we’ve had, especially losing Al, we’ve taken a broader perspective on our team’s season and our team’s future and the decisions that we’ll make.”
Elton Brand, 34, started at center against Washington and had 20 points and 11 rebounds. He set season highs for points and minutes played (35) while matching his high for rebounds. But Brand had been averaging only 16 minutes per game.
Atlanta waived forward Cartier Martin to clear a roster spot for Jamison. Martin signed two 10-day contracts with the Hawks. He started in Wednesday night’s loss to the Wizards and scored four points.
Jamison held scoring averages in double figures in 13 consecutive seasons, most recently in the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 17.2 points with Cleveland. He averaged 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 76 games with the Lakers last season.
He is one of 20 players in NBA history to have 20,000 points along with 8,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.