Danny Ferry did it. He got Billy King to take Joe Johnson’s contract.
The trade sends guards Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and DeShawn Stevenson and forwards Jordan Williams and Johan Petro to the Hawks, along with a lottery-protected 2013 first-round pick the Nets acquired from the Houston Rockets. Stevenson is a free agent, so he will go to the Hawks in a sign-and-trade deal.
Johnson, 31, has four years and nearly $90 million dollars left on his contract. Shedding his contract gives Atlanta immense cap relief and flexibility moving forward. The Hawks created more flexibility by also reaching agreement on a trade to send Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris, league sources confirmed to Y! Sports’ Marc Spears. Harris has one year and $8.5 million remaining on his contract. Williams has two years and $15.8 million left on his deal.
My only rational conclusion to this trade is to determine Danny Ferry is a Jedi, and he used the Jedi mind-trick on Billy King.
Ferry: “Hey Billy… I hear you’re looking for a solid back-court guy to lure Deron Williams back. I think I’ve got just the guy you’re looking for. Joe. Johnson.
King: “Are you nuts? I mean, he’s good now, but he’s getting $90 mill over four years where most players decline. That’s ridiculous”
Ferry: “No [waves hand]… this IS the shooting guard you’re looking for”
King: “Hmmm…. Maybe this IS the shooting guard I’ve been looking for”
I said this yesterday: Joe Johnson is a good player who can border on very good sometimes. And anyone who plays with Deron Williams IF he stays will be better for it. Joe Johnson, along with Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez could make the Nets a formidable offensive threat.
They will not be very good defensively. And this does little more than make them a middle of the road team that will probably make the playoffs and maybe win a series. And I supposed that’s good enough right now for a team just moving to Brooklyn, the heart of Knicks territory, and competing with the Knicks for the hearts and minds of New Yorkers already rooting for a team that will probably make the playoffs and maybe win a series. And while Johnson’s contract is a disgusting financial anchor for most teams, a creative GM working for one of the richest men in the world could use Bird Rights and sign-and-trades to build around that without the luxury tax fear most teams have right now
Atlanta, meanwhile, is suddenly set up to re-tool and move towards the future. Ferry is abiding by the one indisputable law in the NBA: The worst place to be is in the middle. You’ve got to either be very good, or very bad. Because if you’re very good, you’re competing for titles. If you’re very bad, then you can get high draft picks and build around youth.
We’re not sure what the Hawks will be after this offseason. But it’s obvious they’re done with the middle of the road. They’re going to fall on one side of it sooner rather than later. And if Ferry’s got that same mind-trick working with free agents that he had with Billy King, the landscape of the East could change quite radically, quite quickly.
Dwight, this IS the team you want to play for