Horford to participate in Basketball Without Borders

Photo by Jon Barash

Hawks’ two-time all-star Al Horford will travel to Rome, Italy this summer to help lead Basketball Without Borders camps. BWB is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball developmental program. The program has had 1,700 campers in more than 120 countries. Twenty- eight campers have been drafted into the NBA. Horford will be joined by Italians and former participants Andrea Bargnani, Danilo Gallinari and Gigi Datome. Brandon Jennings is the other non-Italian participant. The camp, which is being held from June 2 through June 5, will bring the top 50 players born in 1997 from more than 25 European countries to compete.

RUMORS …

According to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, the Hawks are one of the teams pursuing a trade for Houston Rockets’ center Omer Asik. The Rockets are trying to unload Asik in order to free up cap space to make a run at Kevin Love either in a trade or via 2015 free agency. Asik, 27, signed with the Rockets as a free agent two seasons ago and had a breakout 2012-2013 season, averaging 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Injuries and the signing of Dwight Howard did not leave Asik much room to operate and his numbers severely suffered. The Turkish seven-footer is a defensive force who would be able to control the paint and the boards in Atlanta. With only one year left on his contract, Asik is someone the Hawks can afford. He would also allow Horford to move to his nat-ural position of power forward. Asik is a screen-er on the offensive end and does not demand the ball in the post, which would allow Horford and Paul Millsap the continued freedom to man the offensive paint.

NBA COMBINE …

The NBA held its annual draft combine last week in Chicago, Ill. Invited players first had their measurements taken and then were split into groups based on height, weight, wingspan, standing reach, body fat percentage and hand size. Next, the groups participated in basketball simulation drills, including fast-breaks, weaves, three-on-three scrimmages and set shooting. Each player was also tested on bench press, vertical leap, three-quarters court sprint and lane agility. The tests and drills were conducted in a two-day time period. After the combine, many analysts have the Hawks taking Duke shooting guard/small forward Rodney Hood with the 15th pick. Hood measured at 6-foot-9, posted a 36-inch vertical leap and connected on 69.3 percent his shots.

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