July 2, 2012
Johnson could help Brookyln in more ways than one
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
The Brooklyn Nets have opted for Plan B
Unable to engage the Orlando Magic in trade talks for Dwight Howard, the team has turned its attention from the frontcourt to the backcourt, acquiring all-star guard Joe Johnson.
The trade cannot be officially announced until the NBA’s moratorium period ends on July 11, but Johnson and his massive contract will head to Brooklyn with a trade agreed to in principle.
Atlanta, furiously dumping salary overboard under new general manager Danny Ferry, receives Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams — all with only a year remaining on their contracts, and a sign-and-traded DeShawn Stevenson and a 2013 first round pick from the Houston Rockets.
Johnson is owed a staggering $19.75 million U.S. this upcoming season and will earn a further $21.4, $23.1 and $24.9 million the next three years.
Johnson was acquired to help convince star point guard Deron Williams to stick around.
Williams met with the Nets and Dallas Mavericks on Monday and will choose between the two clubs. Dallas is his hometown, but he is expected to return to Brooklyn.
Once the proposed trade becomes official and if Williams does indeed return, the club will be spending about $50 million U.S. in the 2013-14 season on just three players (Williams, Gerald Wallace and Johnson, and free agents Brook Lopez and Kris Humphires likely will get pricey new deals too). The salary cap is only about $60 million U.S., so it’s a good thing the Nets are owned by a multibillionaire willing to spend a ton in luxury tax.
With the deal the Hawks surrender one of the best players in franchise history but one who was given one of the most spectacularly brutal contracts in all of pro sports, for basically nothing. Make no mistake, this is a Hawks fire sale orchestrated by new general manager Danny Ferry.
Ferry also reached a deal to send out disappointing swingman Marvin Williams to Utah for point guard Devin Harris. Atlanta opted for Williams with the No. 2 pick of the 2005 instead of Williams or Chris Paul, one of the worst blunders in draft history.
Harris’ deal expires a year before Williams’ pact is up, meaning Atlanta will now be a major player in free agency next summer with a chance to sign Howard, who is from Atlanta, as well as Paul.
Josh Smith, a close friend of Howard’s, reportedly is no longer on the trade block and the Hawks might try to get the perennial defensive player of the year a year early by offering up Al Horford and Jeff Teague.
Though Howard wanted to playing Brooklyn with Williams, multiple reports on Monday had the Magic refusing to discuss a swap with Brooklyn that would give Howard what he wanted, because the team is extremely frustrated by the way he has held the franchise hostage and with the way the situation has played out.
All is quiet on the Steve Nash front.
Nash does not plan to make a decision on his next team until Williams makes a call of his own.
With Brooklyn the heavy favourite to retain Williams, Dallas — offering only a one-year deal for Nash in the hopes of saving space for Howard next summer — and the New York Knicks — who can only offer far less than the Raptors per year — remain Toronto’s chief competitors.
Phoenix, looking to get younger and start anew, appears to be out of the picture at this point.
According to Arizona Republic Sun’s beat writer Paul Coro, Nash and the Suns have only talked once since Saturday night and no offer was made.
Williams has said he will make his intentions known by Friday.
DAVIS OUT OF OLYMPICS
Team USA’s run of bad luck continues. Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall selection of the 2012 draft will likely miss the London Olympics after severely spraining his ankle in a workout in New Orleans. The gold medal favourites have now lost Howard, Davis and Chris Bosh, meaning Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler and an out-of-position LeBron James will have to play the bulk of the minutes up front, along with late addition Blake Griffin (Lamar Odom pulled out on Monday).
Davis’ injury is not thought to be severe, but he might have to skip summer league in Las Vegas later this month as well
AROUND THE RIM
Oklahoma City has officially signed head coach Scott Brooks to a four-year contract extension. Brooks took the team all the way to the final, but was outmatched there by Miami’s Erik Spoelstra … The Raptors will invite University of Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin to summer league. Stoglin led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring. Ed Davis, Solomon Alabi and rookies Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy also will play for the Raptors, assuming the proper paperwork in Ross and Acy’s contracts gets taken care of in time … According to the Denver Post, veteran point guard Andre Miller will wind down his career with the Nuggets. The post has Miller, 36, signing on for three years to back up Ty Lawson … Yahoo! Sports has former all-star guard Brandon Roy narrowing his list to five teams — Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, Golden State and Minnesota — as he attempts to come back from major knee issues. It would be ironic if he landed in Indiana, since the Raptors passed on both Roy and Danny Granger due to injury risks … Jamal Crawford is being courted by Philadelphia, Phoenix, Boston, Indiana and the Los Angeles Clippers, according to CSNNW.com. Crawford’s game fell off considerably in 2011-12, but he had some big seasons before that … Another big-time bench scorer, Jason Terry, also has some of those teams after him, as well as the Miami Heat, but has told the Mavericks they will be given the right to match any offer, according to the Dallas Morning News.