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Report: Josh Powell Close To Signing With Hawks

Reserve forward Josh Powell, who played 10.4 minutes per game over the last two seasons with the Lakers, is close to seeing his playing time increase. David Aldridge of reports that Powell is close to signing with the Atlanta Hawks:

The Atlanta Hawks are close to addressing their need for a backup big man by acquiring Los Angeles Lakers reserve forward Josh Powell on a one-year deal expected to be for the veteran minimum $992,680, according to league sources. Powell is expected to pick the Hawks over Cleveland, Chicago and New Jersey in the next couple of days.

Powell was well-liked among his Lakers teammates and Coach Phil Jackson, who respected the 6-9 forward’s work ethic in practice and his positive demeanor on the bench. But Powell is seeking an opportunity for more playing time, and is likely to get a little more run in Atlanta behind Josh Smith.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles says Powell’s departure will clear the way for the Lakers to sign their two draft picks:

Powell’s departure will open the door for the Lakers to offer a contract to one of their second-round draft picks — Devin Ebanks of West Virginia or Derrick Caracter of Texas El Paso — to fill Powell’s spot next season. Both are considered likely to make the team earning rookie minimum salaries and occupying the seats at the end of the bench that used to belong to Powell and backup big man D.J. Mbenga who is also expected to sign with a new team

Powell played his high school ball in nearby Riverdale, Georgia, before going to North Carolina State.