The Atlanta Hawks have agreed to trade superstar shooting guard Joe Johnson to the now Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and former Wizard DeShawn Stevenson, along with a future first round pick.
My initial reaction: The Nets are serious about getting better now. But, we all knew that since they’ve been in contention for Dwight Howard for the past year.
Let’s break down what the trade meant for both teams.
The Nets get Johnson to go along with Gerald Wallace. If Deron Williams decides to stay, the Nets will have three All-Stars in their starting lineup, and quite frankly, that’s it. They now have no cap space left to trade for Dwight Howard, as all three players have max contracts. Brook Lopez is a free agent so there is no guarantee that he’ll be back next season. Even if Lopez comes back, the Nets now have no depth, especially in the front court.
Having three All-Stars is certainly a nice thing, but depth is so key in the NBA, in fact any professional sport.
The Hawks and new general manager Danny Ferry got rid of Joe Johnson’s huge contract, and appear to be in rebuilding mode with the team also trading Marvin Williams. Why they are rebuilding, I have absolutely no idea since they’ve made the playoffs the past five years, but it’s clear they are.
In return for a superstar, Atlanta now has expiring contracts of bench players and not one starter, except Stevenson because of his defense. The future first round draft pick is certainly a plus, but for right now, it seems the Hawks want to undergo a face lift.
So what does this mean for the Washington Wizards?
The Wiz Kids, who have a promising team this season, have an even better chance now to make the playoffs. The Hawks will have trouble keeping up with Miami and Orlando (if Howard stays). With a veteran front court, a young, speedy back court, and a coach that the team wants to play for in Randy Whitman, the Wiz should be good enough to finish second or third in the Southeast Division, depending on of course what happens with Howard in Orlando. They are certainly better than the Bobcats and Hawks now, but they are far away from competing with Miami for first.
With the Hawks transitioning from a playoff team to a rebuilding team, look for the Wizards to be in contention to make the playoffs, finishing anywhere from sixth to eighth place.