Report: Joe Johnson finally agrees to take all the money the Hawks can give him

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Thumbnail image for johnson_game.jpgThe Atlanta Hawks franchise is worth $306 million, according to Forbes Magazine. They just agreed to terms with Joe Johnson on a max deal — six years and $119 million.

We knew this was coming, and Atlanta-based Sekou Smith of NBA.com just confirmed it.

The Knicks made a hard late push and tried to save the Hawks from themselves, but to no avail. Johnson likes Atlanta and said from the start he would stay if the money was right. This money is more than right.

Joe Johnson is a good player, an All-Star, but he is not a true max-deal guy. He cannot carry a team in the way that LeBron or Dwyane or Bosh can. Paired with a guy like that, his team becomes powerful, but in Atlanta he is surrounded by other good but not transcendent players. That’s enough to get to the second round of the playoffs each year. New coach Larry Drew will try to change that with an offense that involves motion in some sense — a nice change of pace — but it may not be enough.

The bigger issue with this deal is the six years. Johnson will turn 29 before next season, meaning he will be 34 in the last year of this contract (when he earns $23 million). Perimeter players see drop-off in their games in their early 30s. By the end of this deal, Johnson could be a very overpaid, one-dimensional shooter. It may be the worst contract in the NBA by 2015.

But for now, everyone is happy. The Hawks got their man, Johnson got his money.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.