The 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.
The Bulls tanked so hard this year, the NBA warned them to cut it out. It was a rare instance of the league responding to actual tanking measures rather than just talk of preferring to lose.
Bulls executive John Paxson, via Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:
“We did this year what we felt was in the longterm best interests of the Bulls,” Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again; it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in; but it’s the way the system is set up.”
Chicago could try to turn around quickly. The Bulls project to have about $25 million in cap space this summer – enough to land a good player or two.
Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago:
The assumption in league circles is the Bulls will wait until 2019 to make their big move when players like Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving could be on the market, and might consider signing with the Bulls after watching another year of development from LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.
This is the wise course. It’s unlikely Chicago can lure anyone good enough to lift such a young core quickly. The Bulls are better off remaining patient – and bad, which will net another high draft pick as Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn develop.
This is also probably the course thrust upon Chicago. Even if they wanted to, the Bulls probably can’t land a premier free agent this summer. Star free agents can see the same problems with Chicago trying for a quick fix and will likely avoid the situation.
There’d be no harm in trying for top free agents like LeBron James or even Paul George. But the Bulls will probably be relegated to 2019 if they want to sign someone meaningful. Better they realize that than make a desperate attempt for relevance this year.
In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.
Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.
John Canzano of The Oregonian:
That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.
Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.
Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.
Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.
And there’s an NBA tie.
Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:
I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks
— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011
Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.
But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.
The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.
But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.
Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:
Jake Edmonds of KUTV:
A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?
The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.