Brooklyn Nets get: SG Joe Johnson
Atlanta Hawks get: SF Anthony Morrow, G Jordan Farmar, G DeShawn Stevenson, F Jordan Williams, PF Johan Petro, 2013 First-Round draft pick (via Houston)
The casual NBA fan might not know who Joe Johnson is, but (and I hope I'm not overstating this) this trade changes the face of the NBA as we've predicted it.
Too much? I don't think so.
Looking first at the two teams involved, this has to be considered a win-win situation. The Nets now get another multi-time All-Star to pair potentially with Deron Williams, in addition to a newly re-signed Gerald Wallace. Joe Johnson is hilariously overpaid ($90 million over the next 4 seasons), but regardless of the unintentional comedy of his deal, there's no denying he's a great talent, especially when put aside one of the top three point guards in the league in a second-option role. JJ hasn't played with a legitimate point since he was traded by the Suns in 2005, so it'll be interesting to see how he adjusts seven seasons after being with such imposters such as Jeff Teague and Mike Bibby. Brooklyn badly needed more talent to surround Deron Williams with, and after a doomsday scenario of watching their one All-Star walk away to Dallas after essentially using three lottery picks to acquire him in the first place, the Nets could be keeping three All-Stars. Teaming Johnson, Deron and Wallace with Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and perhaps a capable power forward like Kris Humphries, the Nets might have just turned themselves into a four-seed. Miraculous.
For the Hawks, this is a pure salary dump, plain and simple. Farmar, Stevenson and Morrow are all solid rotation players, but truly nothing more than that. New GM Danny Ferry is doing what we here at MAMBINO have criticized the wayward Hawks have always implored them to do; choose a direction. The Hawks have come back with the same exact squad that's gotten bounced in the second round for four seasons now, with minimal changes or improvements. In short, they've gone nowhere for several seasons. Their inability to garner a legitimate point guard or center for the past four years has been maddening as an objective observer. What Ferry has done is escape the AWFUL contract that former GM Rick Sund penned Joe Johnson to, and will now be able to make moves towards building a more complete, competitive and deep team. The Hawks could either stick with some of the pieces they have and build around them, seeing as they've now have the ability to extend Josh Smith to keep him with Al Horford and Jeff Teague for the near future, and then bring in another piece that makes this into an actual contender. Conversely, they could trade Josh Smith, blow up their core, keeping Horford and start over while the Heat, Celtics and Knicks get older. They weren't going to be able to do either with with Joe Johnson's cap-murdering deal on the docket.
Moving past the actual teams in the deal, this trade sends shockwaves throughout the league. Here they are:
Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard had "one team on his list". And now that's no longer a reality. With Gerald Wallace's new deal, as well as Joe Johnson's and presumably a Brook Lopez extension, the Nets no longer have room for a salary of Dwight Howard's magnitude.
Some critics might point to the fact that Dwight wanted to go to the Nets, and that had they waited it out, he'd eventually be on the Brooklyn roster. However, a couple mitigating factors complicated that approach.
1). With Deron Williams meeting with the Mavericks and the odds being supposedly 50/50 that he left, Brooklyn brass felt like they needed to show D-Will that the team would be immediately ready to compete for a high playoff seed. I'm not sure that this Brooklyn team can do that for sure, but they're a lot closer than they were at the end of April. Regardless, a move like this has to change Williams' perception of the Nets' ability to win now. After all, that's part of why he'd go to Dallas with Dirk, right? To win now with a 34 year-old All-Star?
2) Being patient with Dwight Howard is like trying to negotiate with a hungry wolverine. It's just foolish. More than anything in the past twelve months, Dwight has shown the propensity to make all the wrong decisions. How can you base the future of your franchise on a guy who threw his GM, coach and team under the bus? A guy who's changed his mind over his future on a monthly basis? You can't. I don't blame the Nets for clicking the "buy now" button.
D12 now has to reassess his future options. Deals with teams like Golden State, both LA teams, Dallas, Chicago and Houston are now all on the table again. Howard could express some type of preference, but GM Rob Hennigan is now in pole position to make a much better deal than what Brooklyn was offering. Finally, after months of giving Orlando zero options, Dwight has oddly enough now opened up the field again with his indecision.
Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls: All three teams have the need for Dwight, as well as numerous assets to make it happen. While their interest will range from very interested (Houston, Chicago) to mildly interested (GS), these teams will have to check in with Orlando.
New York Knicks: To be clear, the Knicks aren't in the hunt for Dwight. But with this trade perhaps getting Deron to resign with the Nets, down goes another option for Steve Nash. The two-time MVP is now supposedly choosing between the three year, $36 million dollar deal from Toronto on the table and his other choice of what will be either a three year, $9 million dollar deal from the Knicks, or a more lucrative sign-and-trade deal facilitated by Phoenix, involving (presumably) G Landry Fields. These are all still possibilities, but without Brooklyn to offer Nash a similar contract to that of Toronto, Nash might have to choose between going back to Canada with the Raps or turning his hometown Knicks into immediate title contenders, albeit for much less money.
I'm sorry for doing this to you, New York. I love you.
Los Angeles Lakers: The Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum deal could be back on the table. Howard has made much of not wanting to follow in the footsteps of all the great Lakers centers of the past and blaze his own path. It just might not be his choice anymore. The complexion of the Lakers offseason could be much noisier than GM Mitch Kupchak predicted. Much more on this in the days to come.
Los Angeles Clippers: In the non-shock of the century, owner Donald Sterling has stated (via David Aldridge) that he wouldn't want to trade for Dwight while he has another big in Blake Griffin on such a cheap rookie deal. However, even the machinations of Sterling against his own team couldn't keep them from dealing say, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and picks for Dwight, could he?
Dallas Mavericks: If this deal indeed puts Deron on the Nets, the Mavericks have to reassess what they do going forward. They essentially dismantled a 2012 contending Dallas squad when they did not re-sign Tyson Chandler, so they'll have to switch their gears to perhaps trading for Dwight Howard. However, I don't see the assets there.