But the Hawks' basketball people had to do as good a sales job on the team's ownership group as they did with Johnson just to get a commitment to offer Johnson the max. It's hardly a secret that the team is for sale, or that new coach Larry Drew's affordability was a key component in his hiring, as important as his long-recognized ability.It will, however, continue to be a problem for Hawks fans who want the team to compete for a championship.
The rationale offered was thus: Johnson is an elite-level player, better than anyone the team could get back in any sign-and-trade scenario -- including, for example, Caron Butler, a player the Mavericks would almost certainly put in a sign-and-trade package for Johnson.
And if the Hawks don't break through in the East in the next couple of seasons, Johnson will only be 31 in the summer of 2012, and still have a lot of teams interested in his services. You can always trade him, the argument went; someone will rise up in the next few years into contender status, and teams on the rise tend to be more willing to go all-in for a year or two and make a trade for a high-priced player.
(It no doubt also came up that it's highly unlikely that the current Atlanta Spirit ownership group will still be in charge of the Hawks in six years. Johnson's due bill will be someone else's problem by then.)
Thursday, July 01, 2010
David Aldridge Suggests Atlanta Spirit Group Being Willfully Negligent
That the basketball people are pushing this offer to Joe Johnson is not even the worst part of the scenario reported by David Aldridge in his NBA.com column is enough to send one back to bed: