SAT. UPDATE: Despite the rumblings about J.J. bolting to team up with another All-Star , the Hawks remain confident he will accept their max contract offer.
There hasn’t been discussion about a sign-and-trade because Joe still hasn’t given Atlanta any indication he doesn’t want to re-sign. The Hawks expected the process would take a few days so, from their perspective, nothing has changed. Hawks blog legend Sekou agrees that everything is still on track for an agreement.
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The apparent hesitation by J.J. to accept the Hawks’ six-year, maximum contract offer has led to speculation that perhaps he’s waiting to see what happens with LeBron and other top free agents before committing to Atlanta.
(UPDATE: Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com reports that J.J. “wants to see how things shake out with the other maximum-salary free agents” before making a decision. He quotes a source saying the chances of J.J. accepting the offer are “slightly” better than 50-50.)
SI’s Ian Thomsen reported earlier today that J.J. and Stoudemire remained “open-minded” about taking less money to sign with the Knicks if LeBron goes there (though now it looks like Amare already is committed to New York) . Under that scenario, which Thomsen described as a “longshot”, either J.J. or Amare (or both) would have to take even less than the non-Bird max to play with LeBron in New York since the Knicks don’t have the cap space to give all three max deals.
Meanwhile, the Hawks continue to wait on Joe. There still have been no indications that he won’t accept their offer. His agent says Joe is “comfortable” and “happy” in Atlanta. In their last meeting, the Hawks reiterated their desire to offer him $27 million more than what he can get on the market. So I’m not sure what’s the hold up.
If you are still hoping for a J.J. sign-and-trade, the transaction would have to happen all at once. When the signing period opens on July 8, the Hawks couldn’t sign J.J. and then trade him later in a separate transaction. Under CBA rules, if J.J. re-signs with the Hawks he’s not eligible to be traded for 90 days or until Dec. 15, whichever comes later.