Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unsolicited Advice To Go Unheeded

Michael Cunningham reports* on the Hawks' plans with regard to Joe Johnson:
When the Hawks meet with Joe Johnson in Los Angeles at the start of the free-agency negotiating period early tomorrow morning, they will offer him a six-year contract for the maximum amount allowed, according to a person with knowledge of their plans.
If Joe Johnson accepts this contract (and unless he's done an extremely good job of investing and managing his earnings to date, he'd be crazy not to pass up an offer to make more than 150% of what he's earned, in total, over the first nine years of his career whatever his short-term goals in terms of winning a championship are), the Hawks will almost surely be looking to shed salary rather than add additional talent over the next two years.

This maximum contract will cost roughly $119 million total, with the 2010-11 amount being about $15.8 million. If Johnson accepts the offer that would put the Hawks at $64.3 million owed 10 players in 2010-11. Josh Childress playing on the qualifying offer would put them over the expected luxury tax line of $68 million. Just adding the minimum three players necessary to achieve the league's minimum roster size will put the Hawks within $1 million of the tax line as even minimum contracts to undrafted rookie free agents are counted at the value of the two-year veteran's minimum for luxury tax purposes.

Johnson's 2011-12 salary would be around $17.5 million which, combined with the increases due Al Horford ($1.7 million), Josh Smith ($800K), Marvin Williams ($800K), Mike Bibby ($650K), Zaza Pachulia ($500K), Jeff Teague ($100K), and Jordan Crawford ($65K), means the Hawks would owe approximately $60 million to eight players (plus whatever their first round pick would be guaranteed should they keep the pick) even after Jamal Crawford and Maurice Evans come off the books to the tune of $12.5 million.

Looking even further into the future, Johnson would be owed over $20 million per season for each of the last three years of this deal.

*Oh how I wish the beat writer's beanie was a real thing. Full disclosure: my blogger hat would (probably) be a porkpie.


Bronnt said...

I'm curious about whether there's a second footnote missing, or if you've erroneously notated one.

Aaron said...

The most recent estimates for the salary cap ($56.1) would set Joe's max starting salary at $16.83M. My guess is that they'll have to dump Mo onto somebody else's roster to avoid the tax.

Curious if anyone else is about to lose their mind over this nonsense...?

Bret LaGree said...

Bronn --

There was a second footnote that eventually got incorporated into the main text. No deleted scenes.

mick said...

The only reason we should sign joe to the max is in a sign and trade scenario where he goes to dallas and we get caron, dampier and a number one or the knicks and we get back david lee plus other assets.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Aaron, not losing my mind, just preparing to divest myself of as much emotional investment in the team as I can for the next several seasons.

Steve said...

If they had beaten Orlando and then gotten swept in the ECF, there would be a flawed logic to offering Johnson the absolute max. You could see advancing further than before for the third straight season as a promising sign of championship progression, with the still possible improvement of Horford, Josh and Teague giving them the necessary ceiling bump. But after the shellacking by Orlando, how?

It's also not like Johnson is a cash cow to ownership. The Hawks had their best season in years and the arena was still mostly empty. The offer doesn't even make much sense financially.

The most intriguing aspect for me of Johnson's possible departure was the effect it might have on Marvin. I think there is a chance that his true calling isn't to be an underwhelming no.2 pick who floats off the ball like a role player but rather is an attacking high-volume free throwing shooting wing. When Johnson missed a few games a couple of seasons back, that was who Williams morphed into. It was quite a dramatic change, given that his usual activity level is just above resting pace. Even in his limited minutes in college, the free throwing drawing ability was evident. And even in his afterthought role last season, he shows glimpses of possessing the knack to create contact in the paint. This could all have been moot anyway if Crawford became a starter, so whatever. One man's destiny stays the same.

jrauch said...

This would be mind-bogglingly stupid, which is why I should have expected it from this ownership group.

What's the rationale? How does getting the band back together again make us any more competitive in the conference, much less the division. Especially since Miami's entertaining ideas of signing every free agent out there at once.

The Casey said...


Unknown said...

yeah brett, what are the odds that this becomes a sign-and-trade?

Bret LaGree said...

Ian --

The chances that this is the first step toward a sign-and-trade are higher than 0% but not, I think, by a lot.

Furthermore, whatever chance there is of this being the first step toward a sign-and-trade is more likely than not to be motivated by Joe Johnson rather than ownership, which has repeatedly demonstrated through its words and actions that it collectively believes Joe Johnson to be not just a franchise player, but one so good as to absolve them of the work of putting the best possible team around him.

Unknown said...

well if that's the case, I'm quitting the Hawks.