Sorry, Hawks fans: D-Wade’s not walking through that door

Joe Johnson guards Dwyane Wade. They're not interchangeable. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Joe guards Dwyane. They're not interchangeable, y''know. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Believe it or not, I do read your comments. Regarding the Hawks, your prevailing sentiment — after the one that goes, “Fire Woody” — is that the team should let Joe Johnson leave and sign Dwyane Wade (or Chris Bosh, or somebody) to replace him. Sounds easy, I admit. But it wouldn’t be. Here’s why.

Wade works for the Miami Heat, which is owned by Micky Arison, who could buy and sell all the Atlanta Spirit partners put together. (Arison owns Carnival Cruise Lines.) The team is run by Pat Riley, who has won five NBA titles and who’s thinking about coaching again. Together, Arison and Riley and Wade won the 2006 NBA title, so they know it can be done there.

If you’re D-Wade, why take a flier on the Hawks, who haven’t reached the conference finals since 1970 and who had the lowest payroll of any of the 16 playoff teams this season? Why come where there’s no assurance the owners will ever spend big enough to assemble a deep enough supporting cast?

And there’s this: Wade is undergoing a messy divorce that will surely turn expensive. There’s no state income tax in Florida. (There is here, as we know.) That mightn’t sound like a big deal to a man who’ll be making nearly $20 million per season for playing basketball, but hey … every little bit helps, especially at alimony time.

There’s also this: If Wade leaves, Arison’s team collapses. The Heat cannot afford to lose him, and when you’ve got a man as loaded as Arison paying the bills and a man as driven as Riley running the operation … well, such men tend to get what they want. It’s hard to imagine that crew being outflanked by the Spirit, an outfit that couldn’t even keep Josh Childress.

OK, you’re saying, but what about Bosh? He’s obviously interested in leaving Canada — last week he changed his Twitter location from “Toronto” to “everywhere” — but is he what the Hawks need? He’s a power forward, same as Josh Smith, same as some people (I’m not one) claim Al Horford is. Would you want a front line of three 4’s and no 5’s or 3’s? Who would play on the perimeter? Smith? Given that folks groan whenever he rises to take a jump shot, is that advisable?

And if you let Johnson leave, who’s the default shooter with five seconds left on the shot clock? Smith? Horford? Jamal Crawford? Say what you will about Joe — and most of you have — but he welcomes those moments and has proved himself capable, though not this spring, of making such shots.

Johnson averaged 21.1 points this season, 11th-best in the league. If he leaves, those points would have to be made up somewhere. Who’s going to do it? Neither Horford nor Smith is a pure scorer — good players, yes, but not pure scorers. Is Marvin Williams apt to double his average? (We pause now to laugh really hard.) Is Mike Bibby capable of averaging even 10 points a game?

I say again: You might not like the way Johnson plays — I myself soured on Iso-Joe last season — but you can’t deny he puts up big numbers. He’s not Kobe or D-Wade, but he’s the third-best shooting guard in the league. Unless the Hawks can find someone better, they’re better off sticking with Joe. And they won’t find anyone better.

191 comments Add your comment

Whopper Dawg

May 10th, 2010
4:24 am

Yo, first!!!!!

Whopper Dawg

May 10th, 2010
4:26 am

You are correct, and neither is Bosh, this is a rebuilding team now, but with some nice pieces, I hope the correct decision is made on the new coach. I would make Skiles say no.

the dream

May 10th, 2010
4:34 am

Perhaps its the air outside on this beautiful, crisp, cool Seattle night but I find myself agreeing more and more with Mark Bradley. Scary thought indeed.

Dr. Warren

May 10th, 2010
4:35 am

So what are the Hawks supposed to do? Just stand pat? I suppose the ASG will sign a new coach but also get JJ for less than what they originally thought he’d cost this summer. A legit point guard would be a nice addition. Tony Parker might be available. Why not sign Bosh and then trade Marvin and Josh Smith to the Spurs for Parker?

DML

May 10th, 2010
4:56 am

This team is not broken. They are talented but lack effort when it comes to “wanting” to win for their coach. I know it sonds silly when talking about grown men, but teams do play hard for inspirational coaches (e.g., Cox, Riley, Pitino). The Hawks need a coaching adjustment, which could include Woody changing his approach.

4 Jacks

May 10th, 2010
5:08 am

Mark, you said it all with your comment about the Atlanta Spirit Group. It is a pathetic ownership that has proven it will not spend the money to ever make the Hawks or Thrashers real contenders. This so called owneship is worthless, and until these teams have an owner in place that is truly committed to spending some money to bring or put a contending team in place it just won’t happen. This ownership is a disaster, and a joke. It has to be one of the worst ownerships in all of the major sports. I just wonder why people continue to spend money on their sorry products. Just ask Hossa if they wanted to field a winning team that could compete for a Stanley Cup. The real villians here are the ASG, and it won’t get better until someone else has ownership and operation of these sports teams.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Nubyjas Wilborn. Nubyjas Wilborn said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Sorry, Hawks fans: D-Wade’s not walking through that door http://bit.ly/cAYWqH <good stuff as always [...]

STRETCH

May 10th, 2010
5:51 am

Dr Warren,

Not a bad idea, actually its a pretty good idea! But what about a SF?

RomeDawg

May 10th, 2010
6:10 am

I wish we could trade Josh Smith for Chris Bosh. I think the chemistry problem begins and ends with the inconsistent efforts of Smith. I also think Bibby is a bench guy now. Put in Teague and let him learn. My only worry is that Joe Johnson lost the fans with his dumb comment. I like JJ but man has he struggled in the playoffs.

You can’t just put the same 5 out next year because this is as good as it gets and this ain’t good enough.

Rex D

May 10th, 2010
6:27 am

Mark: Everything makes sense, EXCEPT you did not mention what additional (reasonable) steps that the Hawks can take in order to improve their future. Signing Joe is an important, but status quo, move. What else do YOU think we should/can do (given some of the limitations that you are predicting will be in play this summer)? Is there a trade that would make sense? Can we re-sign Childress, then package him, one of the extra power forwards (you could argue that Marvin is a power forward as well!), and our draft pick in order to get a Center or Point Guard? Arguably, a Center is more critical, given we have Jamal Crawford (who as a starter would instantly be one of the top 5 point guards in the league) and Jeff Teague.

Marcus (aka decatur g)

May 10th, 2010
6:40 am

Kinda same thoughts as Rex D.
Package something to get a position of need. One may argue that with Jamal on-board, we may have an in-house replacement @ SG, even though Jamal lacks JJ’s D and post-up game.
What we really need is a championship-tested vet (similar to MC’s deffered blog @ a ‘Zo Mourning type player) to steer the young team.

Dr. Warren

May 10th, 2010
6:56 am

Stretch–Childress could play small forward. But if not, then some other trade, perhaps for Childress’s rights, could bring a decent one here.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 10th, 2010
6:59 am

so basically what your saying is that we’re in a for another 5 years of sub-par basketball? i love the quote “we vow to win game 4″- should be “we vow to not be humiliated again and go down in style”.

Marcus

May 10th, 2010
7:06 am

MB,
as continuation from the previous blog on JJ and Woodson;
How much easier was it for players to tune out Woody if they know he has been a goner since last summer?

gmoney

May 10th, 2010
7:08 am

Probably correct in your evaluation, however, doesn’t make any difference….let Joe Johnson go or pay him what he’s worth…maybe 25% of what he makes now. It’s simple…he has talent but is not an elite player….it’s mental and he does not have it…that’s obvious. This team is probably the most flawed # 3 team I have seen…no point guard, no center, and a “star” player who does not have it upstairs.

NikkiFree

May 10th, 2010
7:20 am

Mark Bradley…..The bottom line for me is I still don’t want Joe Johnson even if the Hawks CAN’T get D-WADE. ( BTW, don’t underestimate his desire to get away from a crazy ex-wife. She may be our trump card. LOL!)

O'Brien

May 10th, 2010
7:23 am

Mark,

I still haven’t seen you address the issue of contract. A lot of fans agree that it would be in the Hawks best interest to keep JJ. But the problem is, at what cost?

If he will take 5 years, $80 mil, then sure, resign him. But if he is looking for 6 years, $108 mil from the Hawks, then what? (I think the Hawks can actually go as high as 6 years, $120 mil).

If another team offers 5 years, $95 mil. and you’re the Hawks, do you match?

Victor

May 10th, 2010
7:31 am

I am a Joe Johnson fan but I am also a realist. There is no way we keep Joe johnson if we have to pay him max money. He has been a bust in the playoffs the last 2 years. A max money player should increase their production in the playoffs to help carry their team in hard stretches of tough games in the playoffs, but I have not seen that from Joe. He got a pass from me last year because he was tired and beat up from extended minutes played during the regular season, but he no longer has that excuse. Keep Joe only if the price is reasonable, if not, see ya Joe.

STRETCH

May 10th, 2010
7:32 am

Dr. Warren,

Maybe Rick Sund should give you a call.

Willy

May 10th, 2010
7:32 am

Birds of a feather should flock together: Look at the people Dimitroff is adding to the Falcons roster – talented but with intelligence, character and work ethic. Mike Smith would never let one of his star players walk around the field the way Josh Smith wanders into defensive transitions.

MightyQuinn

May 10th, 2010
7:34 am

I think the prevailing sentiment is to fire the coach, and I agree. But to then think we’re firing a 50+ win coach whose teams have improved 5 straight years gives a sobering pause. Out of the frying pan, into the fire anyone?

Justin

May 10th, 2010
7:45 am

No, they probably won’t find one person better. But can they show some intelligence and sign (perhaps via sign and trade of Joe or straight-up trades of other personnel) multiple people for $18-20 mil/year that will improve the team more than re-signing Joe will? Of course they can!
Besides, your argument is so short-sighted. Shooting guards generally decline QUICKLY after age 30 and let’s look at Joe’s birth certificate- he’s not ‘young’ anymore in basketball terms. By re-signing Joe they will be pressed to re-sign Al Horford, continue at this plateau for one more season or two if they’re very lucky, and then be saddled with Joe’s ball-and-chain contract for the next 4 years.
That’s not to mention that Joe has never won over the hearts of the fan base with his demeanor, charisma, or leadership abilities. He did himself no favors on Saturday. If the major accomplishment this off-season is re-signing Joe, watch the fanbase decline along with the win column next year. Not because Joe is bad- nobody is saying that. He’s just proven that he’s not a big-game player or team leader. Great number 3 guy on the roster, but you shouldn’t pay max money for that.

mitcha

May 10th, 2010
7:49 am

FIRE WOODY & JO-JO THEY BOTH STINKS WHEN THE GAMES MATTER!

j. naismith

May 10th, 2010
7:50 am

firing woodson will have the same effect as getting rid of johnson. what quality coach would come here if a gm would fire a 50+ game winner that has brought the cellar dwellers to the playoffs.

RAD

May 10th, 2010
7:52 am

I agree with you Mark that D-Wade will not come to Atlanta. So what now? The Atlanta Fans will not come out and support this team next year after the lack of effort that we’ve seen in the playoffs against the Bucks and Magic. It’s pretty bad when fans are talking about bringing back Josh Childress as the solution.

Eric

May 10th, 2010
7:56 am

You left out the part about who is president and spending us into oblivion and the higher taxes that are coming to everyone beginning next year. Of course those making over 200k get hosed the most. This trend will continue as the dems will coninue to spend until we turn into greece.

Dahlia

May 10th, 2010
8:05 am

Who cares about the NBA anymore? Not me.

Magnum

May 10th, 2010
8:05 am

You people still don’t get it. WE DON’T have 18-20 MILLION!!!! The only way we can spend that kind of dough on Johnson is because of Bird’s rights. He is our free agent, we can go above the cap. If we lose Johnson, we can replace him by signing a mid level player….not a max type player. That eliminates Wade and Bosh salaried players!!!!

We either re-sign Joe or do a sign and trade. However, we won’t get much back in a sign and trade because we have no leverage. Our options are to pay Joe and hope a new coach can change the dynamics of this offense or lose Joe and hope a John Salmons type of player can come in and pick up some of those points.

BugKiller

May 10th, 2010
8:06 am

Mark,

You refuse to admit the fact that Johnson has NO HEART.

He doesn’t relish putting the team on his shoulders, as you say.

HE POSITIVELY SHRINKS FROM IT!!!

In two do-or-die playoff games this year, Johnson scored EIGHT FRAKKING POINTS!!!

No heart.

No intensity.

No passion

No will-to-win.

That is what Joe Johnson brings to this basketball team.

Let Joe go. Or sign and trade him for a top-3 draft pick. Do SOMETHING.

You say all of these things about Johnson, but you refuse to talk about how paying Joe what he wrongly thinks he’s worth would not only cripple the franchise, keep them from resigning Smith and Horford, AND tie them to a 30-plus year old shooting guard who’d be 35 or 36 at the end of the contract.

That’s INSANE, Mark.

Fresh

May 10th, 2010
8:06 am

I think this basically comes down to one decision. Joe Johnson or Coach Woodson? One of them have to go.

-Joe Johnson Pros
*Good Player.
*Demands Double Team.
*A top 15 player in this league.
*Terrific defensive player.
*Respected around the league.

-Joe Jonson Cons
*Dribble the ball entirely to much.
*Can become selfish on offense.
*Tends to dissapear in big moments.
*Iso Joe.

-Mike Woodson Pros
*Increased the team wins 5 years straight.
*Have never thrown one of his players under the bus, EVER!
*Defensive minded coach.
*Respected around the league.

-Mike Woodson Cons
*Can’t seen to/ nor believe in motivating players.
*Lack of a offensive scheme.
*Refuse to develop rookies.
*Iso Joe.
*Suspect defensive scheme.

So who will it be, Mike Woodson or Joe Johnson?

I feel that this is one of the most pressing issues regarding the Hawks success, you can’t keep both. Together they are a detriment to this team.

Dahlia

May 10th, 2010
8:07 am

Fire Woodson and the lazy overpaid Johnson now.

ryan

May 10th, 2010
8:07 am

Well Mark Bradley what do you do if Joe Johnson whants to walk. Have a sign and trade what about trade for Carmello Anthony or Dirk who is post player or how about Rudy Gay

MitchC

May 10th, 2010
8:08 am

Mark, why does it seem like you always make sense, even when I dont like what you say.

I dont like Joe Johnson at all, but, I’m aware that a fan doesn’t have to “like” everyone who can make their team win. For the record, I despised Tom Glavine for his union stance during the 94 strike, then became a fan of his again after what he did for us in 1995, especially that postseason.

So, fine, we have to keep JJ. Does this then mean that the Hawks have to accept their limitations? They will be a good 50 win team, who will make the second round of the playoffs every year, and will not be in the Eastern Conference or NBA elite with the Magic, Cavs, and Lakers of the world?

Let the Hawks keep JJ if they feel they have to. I just think the Hawks have stagnated, and won’t ever be much better than they are now.

Oh, and also, I think the Hawks are going down in a sweep tonight, sorry.

Jo

May 10th, 2010
8:09 am

And I still say: Bring in Bosh!

JEWELL

May 10th, 2010
8:09 am

MARK, I REALLY DID LAUGH OUT LOUD ON THAT MARVIN WILLIAMS COMMENT! GOOD ONE. I TRULY BELIEVE JAMAL CAN AVERAGE THE SAME 21.1 AS JOE IF HE IS A STARTER, SO LET JOE WALK. ALREADY TURNED DOWN 60 MIL (CAN U SAY LATRELL SPREWELL?).

Morrus

May 10th, 2010
8:11 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

TCH

May 10th, 2010
8:13 am

Woody and JJ need to go. I don’t know that JJ needs replacing. If you keep the entire team and loose JJ that may not be so bad. The money is better spent on a center. Two bad moves last year were the 3 year extensions for Bibby and Williams. I think the rest of the team looks for JJ to be the go to guy. He is unreliable in that role. The quicker everyone realizes that the better everyone will be. bottom line: even if JJ can score 22 ppg during the season, he is flat in the playoffs when we really need him, I say it doesn’t work. The Hawks have been out played and out coached during both playoff series. I would rather have a team that plays their butts off, than a team full of talent and potential that plays as poorly as the Hawks have recently. The bucks would have given Miami a more competitive series!

Doug

May 10th, 2010
8:17 am

Mark you paint it as if there is only sign Joe or the unrealistic Wade-Bosh tradeoffs…that is silly. Bird rights also give you tremendous sign-trade options which should be heavily explored. Now if your reply is that no one would want to sign-trade for how expensive JJ would be…then you are proving the point that many have made…i.e. He is not worth RIGHT NOW max money and in 5 or 6 years that contract would be an albatross of gargantuan proportions

Dick

May 10th, 2010
8:17 am

After all these years, I can still check in on the rag known as the AJC and the “I cain’t make it anywhere but Atlanta” Mark Bradley, to hear Atlanta whiners wondering about their loser teams. Good to know some things never change.

Just like Wade is not leaving Miami, Bradley is not leaving Atlanta, for Milledgeville- like he should.

hatfieldgeoff

May 10th, 2010
8:18 am

Mark what Johnson is not it the 3rd best playoff scoring guard. He is not a player that makes others better and he is not a good enough ball handler to take many playoff opponents off the dribble and get the hoop and score (while that seems to be Woodson’s most favored play). They offered him $60 million, he didn’t want it so let him go and move on. Use that money to get what the Hawks need most a point guard. Someone who can penetrate and then dish off to Smith, Horford down low and out to Crawford for the three. This would more than offset the points Johnson scores. The past draft record of the Hawks (thanks to Billy Knight) has not been good. Imagine this team with Chris Paul instead of Marvin Williams and another good player like Brandon Roy which we could have had instead of Sheldon Williams. 50-plus wins means nothing if the team cannot compete against the elite teams in the NBA and this team obviously can’t. So let Joe go to NY or where-ever. Hang onto Horford, Crawford, Smith and Pachulia and get an experience coach who can make them a TEAM and use Joe’s salary to attract the point guard they need. If we drop bact to 40 wins for a couple of more years at least we know it is for a purpose.

F-105 Thunderchief

May 10th, 2010
8:19 am

Coach is going to, um, should be, the biggest off season acquisition. I’m sick of watching the Hawks shoot and miss jumpers, while rarely even trying to take the ball inside. A better coach could take this roster farther, but he has to have a real plan and a real ability to lead.

Spudd Webb

May 10th, 2010
8:22 am

Agree that D-Wade is not coming, but I don’t think it’s because there’s no supporting cast. I think you swap him and Joe Johnson, and the Hawks would be good enough to win it.

Wade has everything that Johnson lacks.

papadawg

May 10th, 2010
8:24 am

It’s obvious that the Birds had a terrible game plan against the Bucks and now the Magic which is a coaching problem. He’s had long enough and will not lead them any further than just making the playoffs. Time for a change

Jameyan

May 10th, 2010
8:24 am

Look I am a lifelong Atlanta Hawks fan. I was in the stands during the 13-69 season and every since then there have been one consistant thing I have been saying FIRE MIKE WOODSON! The guy is incompetent, he gets outcoached hell Jason Kidd even put a veteran move on him, and we know his other flaws. (Dont develop rookies, lack of offense, switching,etc…) I agree with Mark Bradley and Joe has struggled. If you let him walk who is going to replace him? Please dont say Jamal Crawford because then who is coming off the bench to score? If a all-star calibar player is not coming then re-sign him for a reasonable deal. The ASG has got to spend some money and make some moves right now because or bench and depth is terrible. I say package Marvin, Bibby, first round pick to New jersey for Devin Harris and Courtney Lee especially if they get John Wall.

bball fan

May 10th, 2010
8:24 am

Mr Bradley – good points, but how do you address the fact that JJ just alienated a large portion of the remaining fan base with his moronic comment the other night? I wish there was some way the arena could be virtually empty for game 4.

Chef Mentuer

May 10th, 2010
8:25 am

Mick

May 10th, 2010
8:25 am

Joe Johnson has already said that he doesn’t care if the fans come to games or not. It is clear that the man has not heart and is only in it for the check. If he does not issue an apology to the Hawks fans-”GET HIS BUTT OUT OF HERE.”

Oh yeah, FIRE WOODY NOW!!!

NikkiFree

May 10th, 2010
8:25 am

@ Dick….I’m guessing it’s not a stretch to say you lived up to your name. I’m sure you get that a lot though.

DP

May 10th, 2010
8:25 am

MB says: “And if you let Johnson leave, who’s the default shooter with five seconds left on the shot clock? Smith? Horford? Jamal Crawford? Say what you will about Joe — and most of you have — but he welcomes those moments”

Of course he welcomes those moments. He creates those moments by catching the ball and holding it or dribbling it until the shot clock runs down to five seconds. I believe the technical term for it is “ballhog”.

Devildog

May 10th, 2010
8:28 am

Don’t lose perspective; it’s ONLY basketball.