- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - The struggling Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Kirk Hinrich from Washington in a five-player trade Wednesday, upgrading their backcourt for the playoff run.

The Hawks also received forward Hilton Armstrong in exchange for guard Mike Bibby, rookie guard Jordan Crawford, swingman Maurice Evans and a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

The Hawks have lost four out of five games and slipped to fifth in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. Not only do they have to worry about catching the teams ahead of them; the sixth-place New York Knicks, who began the night five games behind Atlanta, made one of biggest splashes ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline by acquiring Denver star Carmelo Anthony.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The struggling Hawks were finalizing a deal to acquire guard Kirk Hinrich from the Washington Wizards, upgrading the Atlanta backcourt for the playoff run, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced, said the Hawks would receive Hinrich and forward Hilton Armstrong in exchange for guard Mike Bibby, rookie guard Jordan Crawford, swingman Maurice Evans and a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

The Hawks have lost four out of five games and slipped to fifth in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. Not only do they have to worry about catching the teams ahead of them; the sixth-place New York Knicks, who began the night five games behind Atlanta, made one of biggest splashes ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline by acquiring Denver star Carmelo Anthony.

The 32-year-old Bibby had lost a step defensively and was no longer the creative force offensively he was in his younger days. Hawks coach Larry Drew had hoped second-year player Jeff Teague would take on a larger role at the point, but he was averaging less than 12 minutes a game.

Hinrich should be an improvement over Bibby at both ends of the court. He was averaging 11.1 points and 4.4 assists as on off-and-on starter, frequently playing alongside rookie star John Wall.

Bibby was averaging 9.4 points and 3.6 assists. The Hawks gave up some depth on their bench by dealing Evans (4.5 points a game) and Crawford (4.2), but clearly felt it was worth the expected improvement at the crucial point position.

It was clear a deal was imminent when Hinrich was scratched from the Washington lineup just before a game in Philadelphia against the 76ers. He and Armstrong watched the first half from the bench, but neither came out with the team for the second half.