Aggressive New Direction For Ferry, Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets have agreed to a blockbuster deal which would send six-time All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn in exchange for five players and a lottery protected first round draft pick.
Although trades cannot become official until the league imposed moratorium ends on July 11, reports are stating the Nets have agreed to send DeShawn Stevenson (via sign and trade), Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams to Atlanta along with a first round pick Brooklyn acquired from the Houston Rockets.
With Johnson serving as the face of the franchise the Hawks have reached the playoffs for five consecutive years, but failed to advance past the second round during the streak. Johnson signed the most lucrative free agent deal of the summer of 2010, which included stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh.
Johnson is owed $90 million over the next four seasons.
With Johnson’s salary coming off the books the Hawks will have the financial flexibility to become major players in free agency next summer since the contracts of Farmar, Petro and Morrow will expire at season’s end.
But the Hawks aren’t finished dealing according to sources. The goal for the team is to land a major name via trade or free agency next summer.
Sources close to the situation say Hawks forward Josh Smith has taken the lead recruiting role of trying to entice All-Star center Dwight Howard to consider signing a long term deal in Atlanta.
Howard is an Atlanta native and maintains a very close relationship with Smith to this day. IT is no secret the two players have wanted to team up at the professional level.
Sources say Atlanta may pursue a trade with the Orlando Magic for Howard which would include All-Star Al Horford as the headlining piece if Howard were to agree to sign with the Hawks long term.
The Nets have long been rumored to be Howard’s preferred destination, but the acquisition of Johnson in all likelihood removes Brooklyn from the race to acquire Howard.
Even if a trade with Orlando cannot be reached this month, sources close to the situation maintain the ultimate goal for the Hawks would be to secure Howard long term in free agency and also pursue top tier guards such as Chris Paul and Monta Ellis next summer.
Making the Hawks’ vision possible from a financial standpoint is the other move the team reportedly came to terms with on Monday.
Atlanta has also reportedly agreed to send forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for veteran point guard Devin Harris. The Hawks cleared even more space for next summer as Harris is in the last year of his contract, while Williams is slated to earn $7.5 million in 2013.
If Smith is successful in his recruiting efforts in luring Howard then Brooklyn, Utah and Atlanta can potentially tie all of these deals into one complex three-team trade once the moratorium ends July 11.
The Hawks introduced league veteran Danny Ferry as its president of basketball operations and general manager last week. Ferry was adamant during his initial press conference on the importance of preserving cap room and pushing the Hawks over the hump.
Shedding Johnson’s contract with no long term financial implications is definitely a step in the right direction. Now the team needs the next domino (Howard) to fall into place.
More to come …