Joe Johnson to Brooklyn Nets Deal In Place: Awaiting Finalization

By Michael Collins

Danny Ferry and Atlanta Hawks have pulled off what was seemingly impossible, and busted the myth of the “untradeable contract”.  Veteran All-Star guard/forward Joe Johnson will be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, with finalization of the deal awaiting the July 11th free-agent moratorium end.

Johnson may have nearly prematurely let the cat out of the bag when he signed up for social media photography service Instagram under the name “imstartinova2”.

In return for unloading Johnson and his lofty contract to the Nets, the Hawks will take ownership of the expiring contracts of Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, and Sean Williams, and get free-agent DeShawn Stevenson via a sign-and-trade. The Hawks will also get a lottery protected first round pick (via Houston).

This deal also puts an interesting twist on the Dwight Howard situation.  Howard has told the Orlando Magic that the only team he has on his list is the Brooklyn Nets.  This deal could potentially keep the Nets from pursuing Howard any further.

Ok Hawks fans, just open the bottle..sit back..and let this one breathe.  It’s not as terrible as it seems.

It was apparent that no matter what, changes had to be made to the Hawks roster.  Going with the core of players as it stood had pretty much gotten the Hawks as far as they were going to go in the post-season.  Johnson – although a valuable player – had become the Hawks albatross with his overpriced contract.

Johnson was due to be paid $90 million over the next four years, a serious hit to the Hawks salary cap number.  This contract alone was preventing Atlanta GM Danny Ferry from being able to re-sign this and next year’s available free agents, as well as hindering the Hawks severely in the trade market.

With Ferry’s track record, it would be highly unlikely that he went into a deal like this without looking at least two more steps ahead, so don’t be surprised to see more changes coming down the pike for the Hawks.

Yesterday, nine current Hawks became unrestricted free agents: Jason Collins, Erick Dampier, Willie Green, Kirk Hinrch, Ivan Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Jannero Pargo, Vladimir Radmanovic and Jerry Stackhouse, and then star forward Josh Smith is in the final year of his contract, so look for Ferry to really begin wheeling and dealing when and if this Joe Johnson deal becomes final.

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