Danny Ferry has hit the ground running as new Hawks head honcho, trying to orchestrate a trade that will send over-payed All-star Joe Johnson to the beautifully renamed Brooklyn Nets for a heap of expiring contracts to give Atlanta greater financial flexibility as they journey through this off-season jungle.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, who first reported the Johnson trade talks,
“Brooklyn and Atlanta are engaged in talks on a possible Joe Johnson trade, sources tell Y! Nets plan would be to pair with Deron Williams.”
The Hawks currently have $61 million invested in their tenured players… all six of them! That’s right — Johnson, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia, and Al Horford will cost a collective $61M in 2012-2013. The team payroll must stay under $70M in order to avoid the leagues luxury-tax implications. That means Atlanta only has $9M to spend, meanwhile they need to add 7-9 more players just to fill the team. That allotted money shrinks to about $7.5M if the club signs draft picks John Jenkins and Mike Scott.
Getting rid of Johnson is a step in the necessary direction.
“The Nets would have to cobble together several contracts,” Wojnarowski added, “including those of Jordan Farmar, who opted into the final $4.2 million year of his deal on Saturday, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and a sign-and-trade with one of the Nets’ free agents to make the exchange of salaries work for Johnson’s contract. Johnson will make $19.8 million next season.”
Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com confirmed Wojnarowski’s thinking with reports from various sources:
“The most recent proposal, sources said, would call for the Nets to send the expiring contracts of Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow and Jordan Williams to the Hawks in exchange for Johnson.
Sources say that the Nets, though, would prefer to complete a deal with the Hawks by including at least one of their free agents via sign-and-trade — most likely Gerald Green — and by hanging onto to one or two of the aforementioned expiring contracts.”
By shipping JJ off to Brooklyn, Atlanta will shed the NBA’s richest contract, receive a few young players in return, and also save some money in the deal which will provide the Hawks much needed salary-cap relief and give the team more flexibility as they look to reload their roster this off-season.