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Free-Agent Center Erick Dampier To Visit 'Sleeper' Hawks, Two Other Teams

We pointed out yesterday Mark Berman’s report that the Hawks plan to court the recently waived Erick Dampier, a defensive-oriented veteran of 14 NBA seasons. Today, it appears that the interest between the Hawks and Dampier is mutual. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Dampier will visit with the Hawks, Heat, and Rockets in the coming days to decide on his future. While Wojnarowski classifies the Hawks as a “potential sleeper” to actually land the coveted center, the fact that Dampier has put them on his shortlist is certainly a reason for optimism.

Kris Willis of Peachtree Hoops, SB Nation’s Hawks blog, weighed Dampier’s pros and cons yesterday. While he would certainly help the team as a legitimate backup center to Al Horford, the real issue is that signing him to a fair contract would put Atlanta over the luxury-tax barrier. Willis says it seems “highly unlikely” that the Hawks would commit to paying the tax for merely a backup center, especially considering they just signed Etan Thomas on the cheap to “provide some of the toughness and size that they have been chasing for two seasons now.”

We’ll see how it all shakes out in the coming days. While Wojnarowski does not mention a timetable for Dampier’s decision in his report, it seems likely that he would like to choose a new team before training camps open at the end of this month.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.