Around the Nets: On the Joe Johnson Trade
- Kevin Pelton on Basketball Prospectus: "The key question here is how long Johnson and Wallace can continue to play at peak level, keeping the Nets contenders. Wallace's comparables aren't all that much more encouraging than Johnson's. Their future WARP projections go from a combined 7.2 next season to 5.4 in 2013-14 and just 4.1 in 2014-15, when they'll be making more than $30 million combined. From a subjective standpoint, Wallace's high-intensity game seems unlikely to age well. ... I've never entirely agreed with the age-old NBA axiom that the worst place to be is the middle. To me, there's someplace a whole lot less fun, and that's where the Nets have resided the last several seasons. At the same time, you'd hope all that losing would translate into something more promising. Brooklyn better win now, because the team has given up its best hope of landing Howard and big contracts for declining veterans could saddle the Nets for years to come."
- Zach Lowe on SI's The Point Forward: In a talent in/talent out equation, there is no argument: The Nets win in a landslide. And yet, it is hard to find any big-picture way that the Hawks lose a trade in which they manage to unload a 31-year-old shooting guard who will be paid $25 million when he is 35. And if Williams bolts, it could be a disaster zone in Brooklyn. ... It’s a good team. And it will play in a conference with some contenders hashing out their own issues. The Celtics are aging. The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose and possibly Luol Deng for part of next season; they also could lose a top defensive big man, Omer Asik, unless they match Houston’s offer sheet and march into the luxury tax before even dealing with the shooting guard position beyond Richard Hamilton. The Pacers have struck a deal to re-sign point guard George Hill, but center Roy Hibbert’s status is up in the air. Orlando is Orlando, messy and bloated. But the luck of injuries, health and trades will flip the right way for some of those teams, and the Heat are still here, playing at a level on both sides of the floor that this Nets core just doesn’t seem equipped to reach."
- Matt Moore on CBS Sports: Johnson, hopefully, will embrace being the tip of the sword in the Nets' offense, working off-ball. Williams' negotiation of the pick-and-roll will command enough attention to get Johnson space, and from there, it's knocking down jumpshots. And that's what he's good at. ... The Nets have put together a star team. Maybe a superstar team, depending on how you choose to define things. But they're still a step behind. Unless they talk the Magic into taking Brook Lopez in a sign-and-trade, Gerald Wallace in a sign-and-trade, Marshon Brooks, and picks for Dwight Howard. That's their best, last hope of cutting to the front of the line. For now, that's out, and as a result, so are the Nets from the bubble of championship contenders."
- Tim Bontemps on The New York Post: "(A)lthough the move was made with no contingency about Deron Williams re-signing, one has to think that the Nets wouldn’t have made it without seeking his thoughts on the move before executing it. It also allowed the Nets to enter their meeting with Williams late Monday afternoon and present him with an intriguing starting five – assuming he re-signs – of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Lopez and likely Bosnian free agent Mirza Teletovic as their starting power forward. ... Either way, the Nets are now virtually guaranteed to enter Brooklyn with an interesting team. And, if Williams re-signs, they could enter Brooklyn with what has the potential to be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference. After five years in basketball’s version of purgatory, that’s a pretty significant upgrade."
- Royce Young on CBS Sports: "Opening a new building across the river with a lottery-bound team featuring Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow wasn't exactly the splash owner Mikhail Prokhorov had in mind. That certainly wasn't the plan when the Nets unveiled a marketing plan trying to establish themselves as a rival to the Knicks. If you're going to make it in the New York market, you gotta go big. And that means sometimes, you gotta get a little bit stupid. ... It's not the banner day the Nets have been hoping for, but it's something in their quest toward NBA respectibility. They were about to move to Brooklyn and quickly be forgotten. Now at least, it's a start."
- Bret LeGree, on Hoopinion: "The cost of the Joe Johnson era was only, it turned out, $105 million, one first-round pick, and one league average player. Danny Ferry turned a potential disaster into something that didn't work out as planned. The Hawks have moved on. This trade doesn't improve them in the short-term, it only makes improvement possible in the future. Ferry will have to make several good decisions (and have them work) to get the Hawks to win two playoff series in a season for the first time since they moved to Atlanta. Tonight, though raise a glass to Ferry, to Joe Johnson, to Billy King, and to the future."
- Jack Winter, on Saving the Skyhook: "For Brooklyn, the end-game is just as obvious if not quite as practical or functional. They’ve been looking for a star to play alongside Williams since acquiring him at the 2011 trade deadline, as much to ensure he re-signs this offseason as they enjoy on-court success. The Nets could get both in this scenario, as Johnson is a nice fit next to Williams on the Brooklyn perimeter and Gerald Wallace remains a versatile and valuable performer on both ends despite his age and recently signed contract. With youngsters Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks in the fold, too, Brooklyn suddenly boasts an impressive quintet that should enjoy some sustained success – as long as Williams re-signs, that is."