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kriD
08-19-2005, 03:08 PM
Hawks acquire G Johnson from Suns

SportsTicker
National Basketball Association News Wire

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Hawks wasted little time acquiring guard Joe Johnson from the Phoenix Suns.

Hours after it learned co-owner and team governor Steven Belkin will sell his interest in the team, Atlanta dealt swingman Boris Diaw, two conditional first-round picks and a $6 million trade exception to the Phoenix Suns for rising star Johnson.

Johnson is to receive $70 million over five seasons, including $20 million this year. Belkin contended the Hawks were giving up too much for Johnson, who is coming off the best season of his four-year career but never has been an All-Star, but the NBA announced earlier Friday that he is to sell his interest in Atlanta Spirit LLC, the group that owns the Hawks and the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and operates Philips Arena.

Part owner Michael Gearon, Jr. will replace Belkin as the team's governor, the league said.

Last season, his fourth in the league, the 6-7 Johnson set career highs in points (17.1), rebounds (5.2) and 3-point percentage (47.8) for the Suns, who went 62-20 and reached the Western Conference finals.

"Joe has tremendous upside and provides our franchise with a player whose talents are worthy of All-Star consideration," Hawks executive vice president and general manager Billy Knight said. "He has the versatility to play several positions for coach (Mike) Woodson. Not only is Joe extremely gifted on the offensive end, his size on defense will give us a tremendous advantage against most teams. When you team him up with a combination of Josh Childress, Josh Smith, Al Harrington, Marvin Williams, Salim Stoudamire and Zaza Pachulia, we feel we have one of the best up-and-coming rosters in the league.

"I also want to express my appreciation to all who had a hand in getting Joe to Atlanta. The faith and confidence shown by our ownership group will never be forgotten, and the cooperation shown by Suns management, and Joe and his agent Arn Tellem spoke volumes to me. They have been unbelievable through this whole process and words can't explain how grateful we are to them for their character and integrity through it all, for all of them sticking to their word and backing us up all the way."

Johnson missed six playoff games with a fractured left orbital bone suffered during a scary fall against the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals.

"I am extremely excited to add a player of Joe's background to our team," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "He is a great young talent in our league and when you couple him with the young talent we currently have on the roster, I can't wait to see them mesh as a unit. Joe has continually improved his game each and every season, and now he is poised to become one of the bright stars in the Eastern Conference. He is a very easy going person and Atlanta will soon learn how important it was for Billy and our management group to finalize this deal."

The Hawks were a league-worst 13-69 last season, averaging 14,302 fans at home, the lowest figure in the NBA. They have not made the playoffs since 1999.

The 6-8 Diaw averaged just 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds with the Hawks last season, his second in the league.

"Joe Johnson made us aware of his personal desires, which just didn't fit our model of building a team," Suns president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said. "We're sorry to see Joe leave and wish him nothing but the best in Atlanta. Despite losing Joe, we are pleased that we have acquired a young, talented player in Boris Diaw, two first-round draft picks and additional flexibility to keep our building process moving forward."

jayC
08-19-2005, 09:54 PM
Great news for the mavs and the rest of the NBA. The Suns have only one playmaker on the team. JJoe can shoot lights out and might make the all-star team out East.

alby
08-20-2005, 01:25 AM
Suns are dropping fast, unless they think Brian Grant is the guy that will put them over the top. i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

Milles
08-20-2005, 04:18 AM
Originally posted by: alby
Suns are dropping fast, unless they think Brian Grant is the guy that will put them over the top. i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

They seem to be building around Amare Stoudemire. They got him the point guard he wanted, then got Kurt Thomas to sub for Amare in the center. A different look for sure, but they still have Amare, Nash and Marion, not a bad nucleus. As well, they are still in the hunt for Finley who was in Phoenix for a wedding and met with the coach. So, yes, Johnson has gone, but they were committed to changing some of their team anyway, probably not as much as they have done though.

alby
08-20-2005, 01:09 PM
Originally posted by: Milles

Originally posted by: alby
Suns are dropping fast, unless they think Brian Grant is the guy that will put them over the top. i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

They seem to be building around Amare Stoudemire. They got him the point guard he wanted, then got Kurt Thomas to sub for Amare in the center. A different look for sure, but they still have Amare, Nash and Marion, not a bad nucleus. As well, they are still in the hunt for Finley who was in Phoenix for a wedding and met with the coach. So, yes, Johnson has gone, but they were committed to changing some of their team anyway, probably not as much as they have done though.

Qrich + Joe Johnson are much better fits than Kurt Thomas + Brian Grant if you are "building around Amare Stoudemire" IMO.

Thespiralgoeson
08-20-2005, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by: Milles

Originally posted by: alby
Suns are dropping fast, unless they think Brian Grant is the guy that will put them over the top. i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

They seem to be building around Amare Stoudemire. They got him the point guard he wanted, then got Kurt Thomas to sub for Amare in the center. A different look for sure, but they still have Amare, Nash and Marion, not a bad nucleus. As well, they are still in the hunt for Finley who was in Phoenix for a wedding and met with the coach. So, yes, Johnson has gone, but they were committed to changing some of their team anyway, probably not as much as they have done though.

The Suns haven't addressed their needs though. Much like the Mavericks of old, PHX needs a true center so they can play their guys at their natural positions and move Amare to 4 and Marion to 3. So they traded Q for Kurt Thomas, a nice player, but still an undersized PF. So I figure they'll go for a center in FA, and then they pick up Brian Grant, another undersized PF. Granted, there wasn't really anyone available, but I'd hardly call this improvement. This reminds me of the '03 offseason when we needed a center, and picked up Jamison and Walker. Also, losing Johnson hurts them more than you might think, because now Nash is the only playmaker on the team. Last season, JJ could often carry some of the burden at point, which allowed Nash to shoot. Remember how much harder Nash's job was that season after we lost Van Exel? Come playoff time, he was worn out. I could very easily see that happening again. The Suns will win a lot of games, but their current roster doesn't scare me nearly as much as last season's.

alby
08-20-2005, 01:19 PM
Like what kind of style do the Suns plan to play? They lost two of their top 3point shooters so the "gun" in run and gun is not there anymore. Are they going to slow it down and play halfcourt basketball? Slowing down Nash will show the Sun's organization why we didn't resign him because of his defensive deficiencies.

drummerboy256
08-20-2005, 01:25 PM
either way, I can't wait to see pheonix fall out of the playoff race early

alby
08-20-2005, 01:27 PM
They will still make the playoffs, but Nash will get bounced around because he will tire out from trying to do so much for Phoenix. (more so than his days in Dallas)

birdsanctuary
08-20-2005, 02:31 PM
This move is absolutely bizarre. What is JoeJ thinking going to Atlanta, other than "show me the money." Phx was the right place for him being the #3 option behind Amare, Nash... Atlanta gave up way too much for a slightly above average player, who has probably seen better days.

Bye bye Suns...

Thespiralgoeson
08-20-2005, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by: birdsanctuary
This move is absolutely bizarre. What is JoeJ thinking going to Atlanta, other than "show me the money." Phx was the right place for him being the #3 option behind Amare, Nash

That's just the thing, he wasn't the 3rd option in Phoenix. He was the 4th option behind Amare, Nash, and Marion. I'm sure the money is nice, but I think he wants to play in Atlanta so he can be "the man."


Atlanta gave up way too much for a slightly above average player, who has probably seen better days

I'm not going to argue that Atlanta gave him too much money, but slightly above average? That just shows how underrated JJ is in the NBA. Great passer/playmaker, good defender, is a 3 pt. threat, can take it to the rack (should do it more, but is still capable) JJ is one of the best SG's in the league. Really, I'd rank him right behind Allen and Hughes and probably even above Redd. And what better days are you talking about exactly? The guy is 24. He's younger than Marquis Daniels for Christ's sake... The guy's already a hell of a player and is only going to get better.