NBA Roundtable

Joe Johnson Hawks Update

In General NBA on June 16, 2010 at 12:39 am

Interesting comments on the Joe Johnson situation in the middle of an article on the Memphis Grizzlies

Hawks cautious

Atlanta Hawks general manager Rick Sund said the team will do whatever it takes to re-sign Joe Johnson but he’s not writing the checks. One guy who is, co-owner Michael Gearon Jr., said the Hawks would “react” once Johnson hits the free-agent market on July 1.

“The biggest problem most teams make is they sign a contract and it ends up being a bad contract,” Gearon said. “You look at the Miami Heat, Jermaine O’Neal makes $23 million a year. Is he a player that is worth $23 million a year? I would say probably not. If you look at our team, we’ve assembled a team where we try to stay away from bad contracts.

“That said, there isn’t a move we haven’t made. We thought it made sense to get Jamal Crawford here and increase the payroll, so we did that. With the salary cap, the only way we go above that is trade players you have or you re-sign players you have where the payroll goes up.

“Since we bought the team the payroll has increased by $24 million. What we haven’t done is make a mistake with a bad contract. Well, I shouldn’t say that, the Speedy (Claxton) contract wasn’t very good, but we turned it into something (Crawford).”

Doesn’t sound like Johnson can expect a maximum-salary deal from the Hawks.

The Hawks offered Joe Johnson a four year $60 million deal last summer.

A five year max contract is worth about $97 million. The amount JJ figures to be offered by some other team.

It will be very interesting to see how Atlanta approaches the Joe Johnson situation this summer. From the sounds of the above quote, there is a very good chance that they screw it up and push Johnson into the hands of another team.

  1. I think a sign and trade would Dallas would work well with what the Hawks want to do. Joe Johnson for Caron Butler. Dallas finally gets that 1v1 scorer that Dirk said they need and the Hawks get a pretty decent replacement for JJ.
    Plus he has an expiring contract worth $10.5.

  2. Hey Simon Says,

    I would love to see Dirk Nowitzki finally get to play with a player like Joe Johnson. A prolific scorer slash playmaker on the perimeter. Someone who is a 20+ points per game threat and can hand out 5+ assists. Give Dallas a killer 1-2 punch, especially in the pick and roll, down the stretch of games.

    Acquiring Joe Johnson, for Butler and change, would instantly make Dallas a legitimate contender. I would absolutely love to see that happen.

  3. The Hawks will never be a serious title contender if all they think about is never signing a bad contract. The Lakers signed Kwame Brown. It was a bad contract. Adam Morrison makes millions for sitting on the pine. Luke Walton is overpaid. Celtics overpaid Rasheed Wallace and Garnett makes more than his worth. The point is you have to take some risks to get the prize. You win on some contracts and you loose on others. No team purposely overpays a player. You just take the swing and hope you hit a lot more than you miss. That is the game.

  4. For the record, Miami did not sign Jermaine O’Neal to that contract. The Pacers signed him to that deal. That is really money from when the Heat signed Shaq and traded him to Phoenix for Shawn Marion. Miami was not expecting $23 million dollars of production from O’Neal. They were just hoping he could bring something to the team that Marion did not.

  5. The New York Daily News reports

    As for Johnson, the Hawks intend to offer the 6-7 shooting guard a maximum contract, which would be for around $125 million for six years and would top the Knicks’ best offer of about $96 million over five years.

    One league source said Sunday that the Hawks are going to L.A. “to get the deal done,” even though they can’t get Johnson’s signature on a contract until free agents can start signing on July 8. Johnson, who turns 29 in July, has decided to meet all teams that are recruiting him in Los Angeles, where he has a home.

    The Hawks have paid Johnson top dollar, including this past season at around $15 million. They intend to sell their No. 1 player on the fact that they want him to continue to be the face of their franchise, and that they’ll continue to be a team on the rise in the East, as opposed to Johnson joining a Knick team that doesn’t offer near the supporting cast that he plays with in Atlanta.

    Very interesting news. Good for Atlanta.

    Update: Second Source

    Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports

    Source says Hawks to offer Joe Johnson max 6 yr Bird rights deal at start of free agency

    Wow, a six year deal? The final two years of that contract are going to be very difficult for Atlanta.

    They are going to have to go all out to turn the Hawks into a legitimate contender to make this worthwhile.

    I wouldn’t give Joe Johnson six years. Not without the guarantee of multiple runs, as the favourite or a top three team, at an NBA title. He isn’t worth that money. Not without a title coming home.


    A sixth season should be a deal breaker for the Hawks. there is no way that they should offer that.

    A five year max contract is fine value for Joe.


    Also, given this development, and inquiring teams would almost certainly have to offer Atlanta a sign and trade to pry Joe Johnson away from the Atlanta Hawks.

    At his age, and given his ability, passing on an additional $30 million would be a very bad financial choice. Joe Johnson should take the six year deal. He can always ask for a trade at a later date if Atlanta fails to take that next step.

  6. Hey Dave, I was reading on a random site and I remember seeing something along the lines of “bosh isnt afraid to take risks, he took a 3 year deal when he couldve had the max. Chris Bosh might sign a three-year deal with a team and then sign another max deal when the max contract will start at 19, losing only about 10 million total this way.” (assuming the CBA stays constant)

    This got me thinking, wouldnt the best way for Bosh to completely eliminate the financial bonus of the sign and trade be for Bosh to sign a 5 year max deal with a team under the cap with an opt-out clause after three years? If he plays at a max level (assuming the CBA is unchanged), he could opt out and leverage a super-max deal at around age 29. If he plays poorly, he still has the two year comfort of 20 million+

  7. Hey Dino Gunners,

    That is an interesting idea … it would negate a lot of the risk.

    Good alternative plan if the sign and trade path isn’t promising.

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