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Joe Johnson trade to Nets nearly complete, Brooklyn out of Dwight Howard chase

Jul 2, 2012, 6:04 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Getty Images

The Nets seem to be thinking about having an interesting team to open the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn with next season, the years beyond that be damned.

And Dwight Howard be damned. He has said Brooklyn is the place he wants to be but when this trade for Joe Johnson goes through they would be out of the running to trade for Howard or get him as a free agent next summer. That scream you just heard was not Howard injuring his back again, it was him realizing his plans have blown up and left him looking the fool. With few options.

Multiple reports have a long-rumored Joe Johnson to the Nets trade about to happen. David Aldridge of TNT broke the story and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports Network confirmed it. The deal is set in principle but cannot be completed until July 11, when league moratorium ends.

Despite earlier reports this deal is going forward regardless of whether or not Deron Williams decides to commit to Brooklyn or not.

The deal would send Johnson — an All-Star but with maybe the worst contract in the NBA — from the Atlanta to the Nets for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, plus the Rockets lottery protected first round pick for next draft.

The Nets just inked Gerald Wallace to a four-year, $40 million deal. If Deron Williams signs and the Nets retain Brook Lopez (a restricted free agent), that makes an interesting team in Brooklyn. They will put points on the board, be pretty good, depending on how the fill out the rest of the roster, but they have gone from having $38 million in cap space to $9 million. The team gets maybe 50 wins, a three to six seed in the East, catch a break and they can get to the second round of the playoffs.

But that’s it. They will not be better than the Heat or Bulls. They are not contenders. We can debate where they would rank among the Pacers, Celtics and Knicks, but the fact is they are a second tier team in the East that would take on Johnson’s anchor of a contract — four years and $89 million left for a player who is good now but no longer on the front end of his career.

And with all that money they took on Brooklyn is fully out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. They don’t have a trade that the Magic want to make now, and the Magic aren’t taking on Joe Johnson’s deal (the Nets can’t just instantly flipped him anyway). They don’t have the money to sign him next summer. Which leaves Howard screwed — he has a public relations disaster on his hands and can’t land where he wants. His list will open up to more teams fast and could include Dallas, the Lakers and… Atlanta? For Al Horford? We shall see.

Why did the Nets do it? They had to have something they could count on heading into Brooklyn, they could not open the building with a rebuilding team. They are now a playoff team. They had to take that over the risk of Howard because of the move into a new market.

For the Hawks — new GM Danny Ferry has the orders to clean house and change the fortunes of this team. He is tearing it down to rebuild and that is the right thing to do. Plus he still has Al Horford and Jeff Teague, and they can keep or shop Josh Smith to see what the market will offer up. Well done.

  1. cantonbound13 - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Is Billy King still the GM in Brooklyn? If so I now understand why the bad trade.

  2. sunlightpianist - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    @readysethike sign-and-trade deals, both sign to the nets before the trade just to make it possible

  3. ebrownwareagle - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    PG- D Will
    SG- M Brooks
    SF- J Johnson
    PF G Wallace
    C- B Lopez
    = Might not be that bad! They are, Opening a new Arena. Gotta start somewhere. Why not the playoffs.

    • detroitrollin22 - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      Brooks would come off the bench. Wallace would start at SF and Johnson at SG. Overall, horrible trade for the Nets because of Johnson’s contract.

      • sdlakerfan - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        The way I’m looking at it is the nets got rid of several lousy contracts for guys that weren’t going to help them get into the playoffs for a very lousy contract that will go a long way to getting them to the playoffs and appeasing DWill. They had to do something and the DH fiasco made him a less appealing option. Or, it’s all a bunch of BS. wtf does “About to happen” mean anyway? Something’s holding it up or they would have said “done deal” already.

    • progress2011 - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:23 PM

      Just good enough to get your hopes up !

      Then Joe Johnson will have one of his nights where he forgets he actually makes more than LBJ, Wade, Durant, Rose and many other guys that are MUCH better than him and he will play like a guy from the YMCA league.

      On those nights (many times during the playoffs) you will get ran outta the gym, when it most counts ! ahahahaha

  4. bleedburgandyandgold - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I think it’s awesome don’t care if it’s good or bad it’s just great seeing a team tell a cry baby u don’t always get what u want D12 better man up now and stop burning bridges or he’s gonna end up some place bad then next year when he’s a free agent no ones gonna want a guy that throws fits and lies every time u turn around

  5. briangetsit - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Crazy move yes, but are they done yet? Why can’t Brooklyn still get Howard? Doesn’t Brooklyn have both Wallace’s & DWill’s Bird rights? So if they completed a trade for Howard before officially signing those two they could go over the cap. Now think about it D12 for a resigned $10-$12M Lopez (thinking they stil have $10-15 under cap even after the trade with Atlanta. I’m pretty sure the Russian billionaire can afford the lux tax.

    Now at tthe same time would Howard change his mind and go to Atlanta instead? 1) His hometown, 2) Friends J Smith & now Morrow, I think, 3) could offer ORL Horford and a couple of 1sts & 4) Stern is again behind the scenes reminding the players they are not the boss (remember the Paul/Laker deal last year? What if it wasn’t about the Lakers but more about a big name player trying to decide their destination?). Something to think about….

    • cruzp23 - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:47 PM

      You do know you have to have something to trade for howard dont you?

  6. jjordannba - Jul 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Really Kurt, 50 wins no sir. And they wont be better than the Heat or Bulls but we can debate where they are with the Pacers, Celtics, and Knicks? Dont lump the Celtics with the Knicks. Im pretty sure the Celtics were the ones who took the Heat to 7 games and not The Bulls last year in ECF and not the Thunder this year.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Um…. You realize that the Bulls lost Derrick Rose right? He MIGHT have made a little bit of a difference for them…

      • jjordannba - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:57 PM

        um…. you realize i said last year which is when they had Rose right?

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM

        Rose didn’t play in the playoffs. That’s all that matters. You made a point to say that they made it farther than chicago, and i’m saying that making it farther than chicago without rose is meaningless.

  7. ccshocktalk - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Ya know what…this will get a ton of dislikes, but one thing I do like is Gerald Wallace back, if Deron Williams stays and Brook Lopez stays, adding Joe Johnson certainly gives them a lot of offensive fire power.2 years ago he was all NBA 3rd team and I think that should say just a little bit about what caliber of a player Joe Johnson is capable of being.

    If you can get Williams at point, Joe Johnson at SF, Brooks at SG, Lopez at C and maybe Kirilenko comes to Brooklyn and plays PF…theoretically that’s a lot of talent, not sure how it would mesh but it would be interesting to say the least!

    • progress2011 - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      Are you clicking your heels…..cause you must think you are following the yellow brick road to kansas.

      All of your “what-if / hypothetical / theoretical mumbo-jumbo means NOTHIN !

      Joe Johnson has ZERO emotion about the game or winning. When the games get tough, playing against other stars (that he makes more money than) he shrinks into oblivion……have you ever watched the guy play !

      From night to night, you never know which guy will show up….he’s like rolling dice! Many times its snake-eyes !

      • ccshocktalk - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        Do you even know what theoretical, or hypothetical situation means? You can’t even spell “nothing” correctly.

        Joe Johnson did not get a huge contract because he sucked, or didn’t care about playing. I would dare say that he got that major deal because he is athletic, that he can play defense, because he can score. Joe Johnson can be a stud any given night.

        There are rumors of Kirelinko coming to Brooklyn due to his ties with Brooklyn Nets majority owner Prokhorov. That isn’t just a theoretical viewpoint, it actually has a strong probability of happening. Derron Williams would be the point, Brooks the shooting Guard, Joe Johnson at SF, and if they had Andre Kirilenko at PF great, if not they still have Gerald Wallace at 4 and Lopez at 5. So, either way, with or without Kirilenko…Williams is there, Brooks is there, Johnson is there, Gerald Wallace is there, and Brook Lopez is there…that’s a solid 4 starters. I think any team in the NBA would like to have 4 guys of that caliber in their starting rotation. Johnson and Wallace can play defense and score, Lopez averages just under 20 points about 7 boards a game, and Williams can orchestrate an offense almost as good as any other point guard in the league…that’s a solid squad right there, and that’s a fact.

      • progress2011 - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        shocktalk….it is shocking to hear someone be so passionate and clueless at the same time !

        The reason Joe got that big contract was not because he had proven himself to be a #1 option. BUT because the new ownership (Atlanta Spirit) made a “TURRUBLE” decision !

        They wanted to make an imprint on the city, that has historically had bad attendance by spending money, whereas the previous ownership was frugal, at best.

        It was such a bad decision, one of the new owners, divested his partnership ! The fans in the city, who are pretty savvy basketball critics, didn’t buy the sales job either and attendance never sold out for a season since.

        Conversely, Joe has NEVER lived up to being paid a #1/ Cornerstone/ top 10 player, even though his salary was the highest in the league, at the time !

        Previous to this diatribe, you knew NOTHIN…now you may know a lil SOMTHIN…if you can comprehend well.

        Run spell chek dat !!!

  8. chadinkc30 - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Howard is gonna get exactly what his punk as* deserves! Btw who wouldn’t want to go to LA where hate em or not has a way larger shot of winning a title of all these teams not named Heat or Thunder!

  9. zacmonte - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Don’t consider them out of the Howard chase just yet:

    “The Nets remain very much in the hunt for Dwight Howard — even after agreeing to the outline of a trade that will bring Joe Johnson to Brooklyn. The goal is to have a Big Three of Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Johnson, and it remains doable if the Magic are willing to play ball.
    Orlando would have to accept a package of Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks and multiple future first-round draft picks, and the Howard deal would take the form of a massive sign-and-trade.”

    The Nets have all the leverage, especially after Dwight saying that he would only sign with one team (obviously Brooklyn). I know we like all like to play GM behind the computer as fans, but the reality is that no one in their right who has climbed up the ranks to become a GM in the NBA, the premier basketball league in the world, would willingly take themselves out of the chase for the player who most people consider the best center on the planet, ESPECIALLY after he has said that there is only one team he would sign an extension with, obviously being the Nets. When you think about it, there just had to be some sort of bigger plan.

    • zacmonte - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      sorry, forgot to mention, that quote was recently on Hoopshype. I’m not sure who the source is, though.

  10. monkeyhateclean - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Sans Dwight, its going to be apparent to Deron that the Nets will not be a serious threat to the best of the East. Congrats, Mavs fans!

  11. wvuandsteelers - Jul 2, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    As a Hawks fan, not sure what to think. Being rid of Johnson’t contract is clearly a big plus. However, who the hell are those guys we just got? Saw they just traded Marvin Williams for Devin Harris. Not too bad. Plus, don’t count Atlanta out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. This is his hometown. Would rather package Josh Smith and parts for Howard and move Horford to the 4.


    It ain’t the Heat, but Horford and Howard could definitely bully people.

  12. pistolpete0903 - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    hate him or like him…centers like Howard are hard to come by.
    I can see the Lakers making a push at the Magic…will be interesting to see where he lands.

  13. bobulated - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Not a Joe Johnson fan but he also has never had a PG like D-Will. If Joe doesn’t have to constantly isolate as he did in ATL and gets to play with a truly elite PG we might some bigger numbers with less effort on his part.

    • progress2011 - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:35 PM

      Dude…with all the bread Joe makes, he should be able to get his own shot !

    • pglive21 - Jul 3, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      Are you serious? Do you remember Joe playing with a guy named Steve Nash?

      • progress2011 - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:58 AM


        I really am serious. Joe is a really good player that is being paid elite player status !

        Anyone will look like a friggin superstar playing with Steve Nash. All you have to do is be able to run. Nash will put the ball, where even the least skilled player can score.

        I truly think Joe’s game changed after he took that serious fall and cracked his face in 2005.

        He has never been the same aggressive player since.

        That lack of aggression is why he is not a #1 option or should be considered an elite player along the lines of LBJ, Melo, Durant, CP3, D.Rose, Westbrook etc

      • bobulated - Jul 3, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        Yes, I remember him w/ Nash. I meant while with ATL and the reason the Hawks went out and got him in the first place was his production with Nash.

      • pglive21 - Jul 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        Progress2011, I wasn’t actually responding to your comment. But since you brought it up, Joe’s isolation heavy usage is a much bigger function of poor coaching and set plays than Joe’s tendencies. I’ve watched the Hawks a lot over the past few years, and the inability of the coaching staff to draw up reliable plays with multiple options is astounding. Joe was often the one left with the ball in his hands after the first option in sets failed. I don’t think you’ll see bigger numbers but you will see a higher shooting percentage and a much smaller percentage of his plays coming on isolations.

        And to bobulated my “Are you serious..” comment was only about your statement saying Joe has never had a pg like D-Will. He absolutely has played with one as good, and at the time, even better than D-Will. I wasn’t knocking any of your other points.

  14. sf49ers4 - Jul 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Not so fast on the Nets not getting D12 anymore. Big things still brewing. This isn’t you’re New Jersey Nets anymore.

  15. cereal blogger - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Hey look, a completely unbalanced NBA trade,,,this league is such a joke….I wouldnt be surprised if Stern finds a way for them to get Dwight Howard as well. He made Minny give Garnett to Boston,,,who knows what he has up his sleeve ??

  16. icewinna0 - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    DWill, Joe Johnson, D Howard. If those three guys play well and with Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks that’s a very good starting five. But they have no bench and the odds are if their in injury trouble Nets will be like Knicks and be very disconjucted. If theirs cap room go after Jason Terry and Rashard Lewis and try to make their bench good.

  17. proballerslounge - Jul 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    sucks for Dwight lol

  18. simonwelds - Jul 3, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Ray Allen for 2 years is a better deal than Johnsons bloated contract…. They should have went for Allen, resign d will and still have enough cash for d12…. I just don’t see joe Johnson’s skill set worth the money he’s earning when u can outbid the celitics just alitttle for Allen ( 2 years 14mil say) and get 45% 3pt shooting with a stud point guard and center ijs

  19. jayinatlanta - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    “GM Danny Ferry has the orders to clean house and change the fortunes of this team. He is tearing it down to rebuild and that is the right thing to do.” – Kurt Helin

    100% wrong. Being a first-or-second round playoff dynasty is infinitely better than not being in the playoffs for a decade. Ask REAL Atlanta Hawks fans like this 30-year dedicated supporter. The fools who were clamoring for getting rid of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams are delusional about what this team can do regarding “rebuilding.” Pretty soon they’ll be complaining about how much of a crappy team Atlanta is fielding, with zero shot at the playoffs under these owners for years. This time, they’ll at least be right.

    As for the Nets, good for them. ebrownwareagle had it right with the first post in this thread.

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