Thursday, July 01, 2010

Roughly 10 Hours Into Free Agency: An Update

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports expects Joe Johnson to take Atlanta's max offer:
The Atlanta Hawks offered Joe Johnson a six-year, $119 million contract Thursday morning, and sources close to the All-Star guard expect him to accept the max deal soon.

The Hawks moved quickly at midnight ET to try to secure their franchise star and offered the contract that Johnson’s agent Arn Tellem sought from the organization. Sources say ownership OK’d the max offer and general manager Rick Sund delivered it in Los Angeles.

After receiving the Hawks’ offer, Johnson met with a contingent from the New York Knicks that included coach Mike D’Antoni, Johnson’s former coach with the Phoenix Suns. Knicks GM Donnie Walsh didn’t attend.

The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks were pushing for meetings with Johnson on Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles where they could discuss possible sign-and-trade scenarios. The Chicago Bulls also have interest in Johnson.
Frank Isola of The New York Daily News explains Walsh's absence (preparing to meet with LeBron) and that the Knicks really want Joe Johnson:
The Knicks were hoping to get a verbal commitment from Johnson, but that scenario was losing steam by the minute once it was reported that the Hawks were prepared to offer Johnson a maximum contract over six years. Re-signing with Atlanta would mean an additional $30 million for Johnson over the length of the contract than the maximum deal the Knicks could offer the four-time All-Star. The Knicks are also meeting with former Wizards forward Mike Miller, who like Johnson, is represented by Arn Tellem.

A person familiar with Johnson's thinking all but conceded that the guard would have no choice but to re-sign with the Hawks. Plus, there have been reports that Johnson, who was born and raised in Arkansas, has reservations about playing in New York and that he prefers his Atlanta lifestyle.
Arn Tellem may be the first big winner of free agency.

Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle speaks of Houston's interest in Joe Johnson in the past tense but adds the Miami Heat to the list of teams meeting with him:
The Atlanta Hawks were readying a maximum-contract offer for Joe Johnson that would likely keep him in Atlanta. Although the Rockets had considered pursuing Johnson, this could be good news for the Rockets if it takes Johnson out of a potential pairing with Bosh in New York.

Johnson was expected to begin the process with the Hawks, with conversations also expected in short order with the Knicks, Heat and Dallas Mavericks.
Braves & Birds joins the chorus questioning this decision, comparing the wisdom of offering Joe Johnson a max contract to Bob Bradley starting Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley repeatedly in South Africa. Is this the month of supporting those who don't learn from their mistakes?

6 comments:

JMar said...

Maybe I will cool down and change my mind come regular season, but if Joe Johnson signs the max deal with the Atlanta Hawks, I am done with them. They are losers. Call me a bandwagon jumper if you want, but I watched them during the Lon Kruger era, and I watched them during the Terry Stotts era, and now that they are theoretically the best since Mookie Blaylock was wearing #10, I quit. This team has no hope, and I will not support that. Maybe Larry Drew will be a wunderkind, maybe Marvin Williams will be put into a position to succeed, maybe Jordan Crawford will be a ROY candidate, maybe Rick Sund will pull off a miraculous trade of Bibby and Jamal and whatever and put this team in contention. But I highly doubt it, and until I see signs of life, I’m done. I certainly don't want to be a fan of this team when Al Horford has the freedom to decide that he no longer wants to play center and can sign somewhere else.

Bret LaGree said...

JMar --

If you really are done with the Hawks, let me recommend the pairing of Drew Gooden and Scott Skiles to provide basketball-related entertainment for you in 2010-11.

Stuart said...

Please be a sign and trade masterpiece!

jrauch said...

Please tell me this is part of a larger hope to bamboozle some team for picks and players in a sign-and-trade (Dallas being the most obvious sucker, they still think Jason Kidd's a viable point guard for Pete's sake).

Scott said...

Bret,

Ever since I heard the news about the max offer for Johnson, I have been wondering if it was done for sign and trade purposes. Once the merry go round settles and James, Wade and Bosh pick their team(s), there will still be about 5 teams who whiffed on bringing the stars in, and will need to bring in (and overpay)somebody to justify all of the hype leading up to this week, and to make their fans feel better.
What are the odds this will be part of a sign and trade? What are the odds that the Hawks are planning on trading him without his knowledge? I just have a hard time believing the Atlanta owners would sign him when they can take the cheap way out and say Johnson is not worth the max level at a time when most NBA analysts agree.

Any insight would be appreciated,

Scott

Bret LaGree said...

Scott --

It could be the first step to a sign-and-trade but I'd be surprised. The good news is I'm often wrong about a wide variety of things.

No team, though, values Joe Johnson as highly as the Hawks appear to and no team will give him as much of what he wants: money and field goal attempts.