Atlanta Hawks: Waiting on J.J. (UPDATE: J.J. expected to accept offer in second meeting)

Assuming he can use an extra $25 million or so, J.J. willl be back. (Bob Rosato/SI)

Assuming he can use an extra $25 million or so, J.J. willl be back. (Bob Rosato/SI)

(UPDATE: A person with knowledge of the process said the Hawks are to meet with J.J. again in L.A. with the expectation that the two sides will work out the details of a contract agreement.)

What’s up, blog people? Shaking off the cobwebs after staying up way too late and obsessively checking the Blackberry for some confirmation that J.J. accepted Atlanta’s maximium contract offer. No official word on that yet but my prediction that there’s no way he (or any other older free agent) leaves that much cash on the table is looking pretty good. I’ll update as the day goes along.

After Rick Sund met with Joe and his agent to extend the offer, the Knicks made their pitch to him. The Heat also are trying to get in the running. The Mavs also want to get an audience with Joe even though they have no cap room.

None of those teams has Atlanta’s $27 million advantage. Sure, J.J. could try to force a sign-and-trade to one of those teams and still get his Bird rights money, but that would require an agreement between the Hawks and the new team. Why go through all of that when a max offer is sitting in front of him?

Also, while the Hawks aren’t a championship-level team, they are better right now than any of the teams with the cap space to offer J.J. the max. Sure, those teams all can get better by making moves, but this is another area where J.J. has what he wants in front of him so why take a chance somewhere else? The Hawks are going to have to get creative to improve the team once J.J. re-signs but they already have a good team.

It seems much of the league was surprised that the Hawks offered the maximum. I couldn’t find anyone who predicted J.J. would re-sign in Atlanta, probably because no one believed ASG would spend the money. NBA.com’s David Aldridge says Sund and his people (who’ve always been big J.J. fans) had to convince the owners to make the investment. Aldridge also amplified what I said in yesterday’s blog about future trading possibilities for J.J.:

“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.”

That happens all the time in the NBA. It’s why when Michael Gearon Jr was lamenting that Jermaine O’Neal was overpaid last season, I was thinking that O’Neal still got traded along to Toronto and then later to Miami after the Pacers gave him a big-money deal. This was after he proved to be injury-prone and unable to get them over the top.

Aldridge ended his post with a sentiment I saw expressed by other reporters on Twitter last night: “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.”

If that indeed is part of their rationale, it’s obviously a cynical point of view. From a practical standpoint it’s also risky since no one is lining up to buy sports teams nowadays. More likely, the Hawks figure they can always move J.J. later and start over if things don’t work out. It’s not an unrealistic expectation.

MC

444 comments Add your comment

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
12:22 pm

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
12:23 pm

Thanks Mike you cant be all bad….

Now fire sund!

AJ

July 1st, 2010
12:24 pm

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
12:27 pm

Mike good premises and conclusion. I think its the right decision. The only question I have is what pieces can we afford to put around JJ to encourage him…. I guess its still JJ’s team whether its Mike Woodson or Woodson II (the sequel).

G-MAN013

July 1st, 2010
12:29 pm

MC,

What is the deal with Childress? Sekou confirmed that he was planning to go to the Wizards? Is there a SnT in place?

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
12:30 pm

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
12:22 pm

1st!!!

* Link
* Report this comment

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
12:23 pm

Thanks Mike you cant be all bad….

Now fire sund!

AJ

Check your calculator…I think it need a battery AJ
July 1st, 2010
12:24 pm

First

TRADE

July 1st, 2010
12:30 pm

Mike Bibby and Zaza or Marvin for Chris Paul who wants out NO we should make this happen

ryan

July 1st, 2010
12:32 pm

Chris Paul wants out of NO we need to get some help for Joe package a Marvin Williams Jamal Crawford’s expiring contract. And you have your superstar and JJ gets help.

SB75

July 1st, 2010
12:34 pm

I don’t want the ASG to be in charge for another 6 days much less 6 years. If that is the thought they had ( that they wouldn’t own it in 6 years) why didn’t they think that same way in hiring a coach?

Chip Shot

July 1st, 2010
12:34 pm

ur gonna have to give up josh to get paul

Daddyrich

July 1st, 2010
12:35 pm

This article doesnt make me feel as bad about giving max money to a player who isnt worth it and crippling any ounce of future flexibility

Rethink this

July 1st, 2010
12:35 pm

This is a big mistake. He isn’t worth max money. And 6 years is a really long time.

SB75

July 1st, 2010
12:37 pm

Ryan, I would love that deal but you are going to have to give up a lot more for Paul. Horfords name would have to be part of the conversation to get N.O. to listen. Paul can’t simply force his way out. N.O. will get great compensation for him and that’s not Marvin and Bibby.

dap01

July 1st, 2010
12:37 pm

Max money is WAY too much for JJ. But we now know that his motivation is $$$$. His history told us as much.

Now we have to figure what assets (players) we can peddle off in order to field a balanced team.

Wow, should I be happy or sad.

Chip Shot

July 1st, 2010
12:40 pm

Erik

July 1st, 2010
12:43 pm

Since the ASG doesn’t seem to know any better, the best scenario would be for Joe to choose another team and work out a sign-and-trade. That way, we don’t get burdened with an overpriced player and we get something in return.

Then again, maybe in the long run it’s best for this deal to go through and ruin the franchise for a number of years, forcing the ASG to have to sell the team.

Westurd

July 1st, 2010
12:44 pm

MC,
Whos is at risk with this deal? Sund, ownership? Really no one because they will be out in a few years and someone else will be holding the cards. If JJ is around for a few years the teams value will remain higher than if he weren’t around. The way I see it everyone wins, except those that want a ring. This is not a championship move, but a move that keeps a smug grin on peoples faces

SB75

July 1st, 2010
12:45 pm

Chp…. Question? Why would you put Josh in that trade, when his skills are the best mesh on the team with Paul’s talent?

John

July 1st, 2010
12:48 pm

I believe, just my opinion, Atlanta would have to give up Josh Smith and Jamal Crawford to get CP. Why having CP would be great, who in the world would play the 4 for Atlanta.

PG Paul
SG JJ
SF Marvin
C Horford

Missing the 4!!!! lol

Chip Shot

July 1st, 2010
12:49 pm

Chip Shot

July 1st, 2010
12:49 pm

haywood to the 5 and al to 4

dap01

July 1st, 2010
12:49 pm

I know that we all agree that signing JJ was necessary but why do you think no one is exactly rejoicing?

John

July 1st, 2010
12:51 pm

you think we’re getting Haywood? lol

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
12:53 pm

@G-MAN: i didn’t see Sekou’s report. did it say Childress will visit the Wizards? because right now all he could do is sign an offer sheet. last time i checked, there were no discussions about a S & T.

John

July 1st, 2010
12:53 pm

@dap01…we don’t all agree it was necessary. I’m still holding out hope that Chicago, Dallas or NY (JJ agent said don’t count out NY yet) come up with a sign and trade…I doubt it, but still hopeful.

Steve

July 1st, 2010
12:53 pm

This is being called the worst signing in any sport ever – can’t get the link to post however – it is on yahoo – about 5 minutes ago.

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
12:53 pm

@AJ: feel the failed firstie burn

Steve

July 1st, 2010
12:54 pm

By the way, I totally disagree about this being the worst free agent signing – Joe will age well, barring injury, and we really did have no other choice unless we get a great sign and trade.

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
12:54 pm

@Truth-Serum: i would think No. 1 would be a point guard. hard to tell JJ “we want the ball out of your hands” and not have a bona fide point guard to distribute. they have high hopes for Rook’ but if that doesn’t work out, then what?

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
12:55 pm

@ryan: “Chris Paul wants out of NO we need to get some help for Joe package a Marvin Williams Jamal Crawford’s expiring contract. And you have your superstar and JJ gets help.”

i would think Hornets could do better. the expiring contract part is good but i figure they could get a better young player than Marvin.

i_am_soulstar

July 1st, 2010
12:56 pm

I read from Adrian Wojnarowski that World Wide Wes wants Lebron out of Cleveland and that Lebron and CP3 are great friends, so he’s trying to pry Chris Paul from New Orleans to make the prospect of relocating more attractive to Lebron.

If this is true, I’m sure Wes will be attempting to funnel him to one of the teams on Lebron’s wishlist.

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
12:57 pm

@SB75: “I don’t want the ASG to be in charge for another 6 days much less 6 years. If that is the thought they had ( that they wouldn’t own it in 6 years) why didn’t they think that same way in hiring a coach?”

this is a good point. remember, we don’t know for sure if that’s what they were thinking. all of the reports that J.J. was gone were based on the assumption that ASG wouldn’t spend the money and that turned out to be false. now you have people trying to explain how the original assumption was wrong and this is one way to do it.

Aaron

July 1st, 2010
12:57 pm

There really isn’t a whole lot of precedent for moving wings over the age of thirty on deals this large. Ray Allen was moved, but his deal was significantly smaller than Joe’s potential one.

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
12:58 pm

@ Chip Shot: “ur gonna have to give up josh to get paul”

Josh is probably Hawks’ best trade chip as far as guys with long-term deals (not counting Al’s rookie scale).

ryan

July 1st, 2010
12:58 pm

I think ASG would not mind trading Josh Smith with the bad PR he has giving us insulting M. Wisconsin. Josh Smith almost cost us a first round exit wit those commits. So if that what it takes to get CP3 then is say do it.

Michael Cunningham

July 1st, 2010
1:00 pm

@ Westurd: “Whos is at risk with this deal? Sund, ownership? Really no one because they will be out in a few years and someone else will be holding the cards. If JJ is around for a few years the teams value will remain higher than if he weren’t around. The way I see it everyone wins, except those that want a ring. This is not a championship move, but a move that keeps a smug grin on peoples faces”

i would say ownership. if fans don’t like the move and don’t show up, that’s less revenue and a potentially burdensome contract on the books. of course if it works out, it could mean more revenue.

John

July 1st, 2010
1:00 pm

@Steve…definitely not the worst signing ever…..Grant Hill robbed Orlando….I think Allan Houston is still robbing the Knicks…lol…and Juwan Howard….horrible

G-MAN013

July 1st, 2010
1:00 pm

MC,

it is on sekou’s twitter page when he says “Yes it has been confirmed by two different sources”

Apparently JJ hasn’t gotten the sixth year yet. Don’t give up hope we might can still turn this around

http://www.realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/67688/20100701/hawks_offer_to_joe_johnson_does_not_yet_include_6th_season/

Poe

July 1st, 2010
1:00 pm

Steve,

The other choice is to not sign him and keep financial flexibility for future years. Next year’s team MAY take a step back but at least you aren’t committing to 6 years of mediocrity. And I say MAY because the new motion offense may actually make them a better team.

GeeMack

July 1st, 2010
1:03 pm

MC

Are you hearing anything about getting JJ some help, if he signs.

Khao$

July 1st, 2010
1:05 pm

MC…I just read on Real GM that JJ told the Knicks that the Hawks haven’t offered him a sixth year…yet. Have you heard the same?

Michael Gearon, Jr.

July 1st, 2010
1:06 pm

Look people, we’re just trying to hold the value of the franchise until we can sell it. That’s why we’re making this offer.

O'Brien

July 1st, 2010
1:09 pm

Why would Hornets want Josh Smith when they already have David West? And would N.O. really trade CP3, the face of the franchise? If they do, they would ask for a lot.

Somebody (I think it was Najeh) proposed a trade for CP3 and Okafor, but I dont think we have a package attractive enough. I do think we could trade for Collison though.

Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, and Jamal Crawford to Hornets for Okafor, Darren Collison, and David West.

Why would N.O do it? They need a SG because they traded Mo Peterson, and they get the added benefit of Jamal’s expiring contract (which gives Thornton another year to develop). Josh would fill in for David West (imagine Josh receiving lobs from CP3 like Chandler did, and his highlight reel blocks), they get a backup PG in Jeff Teague, and they get rid of Okafor’s horrible contract.

If you’re CP3, sure, you hate seeing David West leave, but you’re getting the SMOY and the #2 DPOY. And the Hornets will have financial flexibility to make some moves next year when Jamal’s contract expires along with Stojakovic.

Why would Hawks do it? They get David West who is cheaper than Josh and a better frontcourt scorer, which we need to take some of the load off JJ (although West is not as good on defense). We also get Okafor to be the guy to give Horford help down low, and we get Collison to be our starting PG.

Does it seem like a fair deal for both sides? If not, who would you swap out? If N.O. wants a center back, they can take ZaZa and we’ll take Posey. Or we could do just Jamal and Teague for Collison and Okafor.

What do you guys think?

SB75

July 1st, 2010
1:10 pm

Thanks MC…

dap01

July 1st, 2010
1:10 pm

Ryan: Josh insulted Wisconsin, JJ insulted Atlanta. Go figure.

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
1:12 pm

Mike I dont know that rook is ready for prime time. If he were still in college hed just be entering his senior season. Can see keeping the same starting five is going to get us any higher especially since we offer a free pass to the basket as long a horford is the man in the middle. I really dont want to do another 1 and done.
I must say since the offseason began. We havent improved at all. If this pans out it will be the same scenario as last season. We will be unable to defend the basket Horford will average 12 or 13 points and you guys will say how great that is. Mean will Woodson part II the sequel will be under pressure for not winning more than 48 games.

You cant keep doing the same things and expect different results. One thing is clear, this is Sund’s team and its either his philosophy or the highway.

Sund Sucks and so will the hawks again next year. Unless they get what Al call’s ” a real center” I wont be watching! The results are too predictable.

I MUS WRITE

July 1st, 2010
1:13 pm

Max deal,Im absolutely shocked….. Joe johnson making more than Lebron,Wade,Mello,Bosh etc This just sounds like a fail to me. Cant fault Joe though,just like you cant fault marvin for his draft status. I just want to know what the ASG see in Joe that warrants 20 mil per?

I would have prefered a S&T with Memphis for SG-Ronnie Brewer /C-Marc Gasol.
If Joe does sign his deal,why not offer Marvin/Josh Smith to Denver for Mello. they are willing to trade him for fear that he didnt sign his 3 year 60 mil extension. Melo,Horford,Joe,and Crawford would be a very solid core of Players.
I hope that this deal doesnt limit our ability to resign Horford!

Be careful this weekend folks if ur planning to be out and about. Special task forces actively looking for impaired drivers. Something to keep in mind if you’re leaving a club/restaurant any time after 11pm….. 2 drinks within a hour =DUI charge

I MUS WRITE

July 1st, 2010
1:14 pm

fearing that he may opt out next summer

JC

July 1st, 2010
1:15 pm

@Poe – so the new motion offense may actually make the Hawks a better team? Now think about that new motion offense with a sharpshooter like JJ actually getting consistent open looks from outside. This is a team, albeit not in the top 3 of the Eastern Conference, is definitely in the top 5. Plus with so much shakeup in Boston and Cleveland, there’s a real chance that some tinkering with the current roster and the attrition of theirs may push the Hawks ahead.

Also, financial flexibility means nothing when you have an ownership group that’s unwilling to spend. They’ve proven time and time again that they won’t fork out for high-priced free agents – Joe seems to be the only exception. I’d rather them spend on Joe than pass up opportunities to sign other big-name free agents and save $15-$20 mil a year.

Truth-Serum

July 1st, 2010
1:15 pm

*cant see keeping the same five will change the out come.
*mean while

you can bring chris paul over ( id like that ) to go with JJ but that still wont open lanes in the paint. This will once again be a jump shooting team. No force in the middle.