Brooklyn Nets: 4 Reasons the Nets Will Regret the Joe Johnson Trade
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The Atlanta Hawks were stuck with him, until they weren't.
The Hawks brought in Danny Ferry as their new general manager, and Ferry promptly shipped Joe Johnson and his mega-deal north, to Brooklyn.
The Hawks are all of a sudden a team that will have tons of cap space next summer, the Nets are in the process of forming some sort of "Big Three" in New York City's most populous borough.
When the Brooklyn Nets are officially unveiled this fall, there will be no shortage of optimism.
Joe Johnson's mega-deal might dampen that optimism over the coming years. Johnson will be a member of the Nets for the next four seasons, for better, or for worse.
Bad news Brooklyn fans, it looks like there's more "worse" than "better" in this scenario.
There Is No Way out of Joe Johnson's Deal
Travis Outlaw has already been "amnestied" by the Nets.
Every NBA team gets one "do-over" on bad contracts. Since this provision was just inserted into the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, most teams have yet to take advantage of it.
The Nets are one team that has already used it.
They used it last December on Travis Outlaw who had signed a five-year, $35 million contract just one year earlier.
Outlaw had four years and $28 million remaining when the Nets amnestied him.
Now the Nets have Joe Johnson and his four years and $89 million remaining on their books.
Johnson is a much better player than Outlaw, and his presence does make the Nets a better team.
The Nets better hope he makes them a lot better. If Johnson gets injured, wears out his welcome, or just experiences a dramatic drop-off in production, one thing will remain constant.
The Nets will be obligated to pay him, and it will count against the salary cap as well.
Joe Johnson Is One-Dimensional
Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade are both shooting guards, but one does a lot more than just shoot.
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When one thinks of great NBA shooting guards, there are a number of names that leap to mind.
All three players feature versatile games, that combine prolific scoring, with top quality defense. Oh yea, they can all rebound and pass the ball as well.
Joe Johnson can score, he's not an elite scorer, but he has a career average of 17.8 points per game, and he's exceeded 20 points per game in five different seasons.
Those aren't fantastic scoring numbers, and when you factor in that Johnson averages less than five rebounds, and five assists per game for his career, you're left with a picture of a fairly one-dimensional player. That one dimension isn't even that impressive.
If you're going to get a shooting guard, and pay top dollar, then the production needs to be better than this.
Joe Johnson Is Not Young
Joe Johnson was drafted in 2001, and has played for Atlanta, Phoenix, and Boston.
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Joe Johnson is not an up-and-coming player, and he's not in his prime either.
Johnson is 31-years-old.
Over the next four seasons, Johnson will begin to slow down. That's not a criticism of Johnson as much as it's just a normal reality for most NBA Players.
The aging process usually impacts things such as durability, lateral movement, leaping, and recovery time.
Johnson is not a guy who gets to the basket with lethal efficiency. He relies primarily on mid-range and outside jumpers to accrue his points.
As he gets older, his ability to hit shots consistently and maintain defensive intensity will both be compromised.
If Johnson were 25-years-old when Brooklyn acquired him then one could rationalize the signing by suggesting that Johnson will improve over the course of it.
Instead, at Johnson's current age, the odds are much better that his play declines while he's a member of the Nets.
Joe Johnson Might Not Have Been Needed
The Nets could have brought high-flying Gerald Green back at a fraction of the cost.
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Last season the Nets acquired MarShon Brooks, who was originally a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics in the NBA Draft. Brooks got off to a great start, but then was injured.
In an effort to find an adequate replacement for Brooks, the Nets turned to another former Celtics first-round pick.
Gerald Green was the 18th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. The Celtics grabbed him right out of high school. Green displayed jaw-dropping athleticism, but was too young to attain consistency in the NBA.
Green was eventually dealt away from Boston, he bounced around the league, went overseas, and was playing in the D-League last season when the Nets came calling.
Nearly seven years after he was a first round draft pick, Green was finally able to play, and play well on a consistent basis in the NBA.
That left the Nets with two potential options at shooting guard for the 2012-2013 NBA season.
Losing Brooks wouldn't leave the Nets without a shooting guard. They could re-sign Green who is a free agent.
Signing Green to a long term contract would cost money and carry some risk, but not nearly as much money as the Nets are spending on Johnson.
Green's numbers are not as good as Johnson's, but the difference in production could be negated by the money saved, and the fact that at 26-years-old, Green's best days could be in his future, as opposed to his past.