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Atlanta Hawks ownership fiasco and JJ trade

Old 08-05-05, 01:55 AM
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Atlanta Hawks ownership fiasco and JJ trade

The Hawks-Suns trade for Joe Johnson took a bizarre turn for the surreal:

Atlanta Hawks' ownership group escalated Thursday when one of the owners took his partners to court and got a restraining order against them.

The order, sought by Steve Belkin in a Boston court, temporarily prohibits the majority of the Hawks' owners from removing him as the team's NBA governor a position Belkin has used this week to block a trade his partners want to make with the Phoenix Suns for guard Joe Johnson.

Thursday's legal salvo is the latest setback for a troubled franchise that has struggled for years to win games, fans and credibility.

The Boston-based Belkin filed the lawsuit against his partners after they called a meeting for Friday to vote on removing him as the Hawks' governor.

One of Belkin's partners, Atlanta businessman Michael Gearon Jr., responded to the court action: "We are aware of the lawsuit filed by Steve Belkin in Boston. We will not allow that to deter us from building a winning team in Atlanta."
The trade IS a pretty bad one for the Hawks, giving up 2 first-rounds and Boris Diaw, so losing JJ might not be that bad, but boy do the Hawks have a messed-up ownership/managment situation here.
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Old 08-05-05, 02:35 AM
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Well, Robert Sarver (Suns new owner) was on the local sports talk station this afternoon. He finally got to talk about the situation, to put out there the Suns organization side.

They've been taking a pounding in the local media as to how they could let this guy go.

Basically, to sum up what he said:

It's not a money issue. He said even before what the Hawks offered that deal, they were in the same ballpark.

Joe Johnson would not even meet with the Suns after the season. He refused to meet to discuss with them, until he was basically forced to.

The conversation with Sarver, D'Antoni, Brian Colangelo, JJ and his agent consisted of 2 minutes of Sarver getting into what Joe wanted, and 23 minutes of JJ bitching about the Suns organization and what is wrong with them.

Sarver thinks (with good justification) that someone is giving JJ bad advice on this situation, probly his agent or "posse". The Suns used Nash, Amare and Marion all to try and talk to JJ about the situation on different occasions. Obviously the point was, would you like to be getting paid $70 million on a great team, with a chance for a championship, or $70 million on a shitty team, with no chance of anything in the future, and the potential to be miserable. Apparently JJ is not listening and thinks he can be a league superstar there.

The Suns also spent about $10,000 on some kind of book they made for JJ about what his future career will be like here with the Suns. He apparently didn't give a shit about it.

Sarver said that they were going to match the offer anyway, despite JJ's pleas not to. Sarver then told JJ that if he could get Atlanta on the phone, and they'd offer fair compensation for him to the Suns organization, they'd consider the deal. If they didn't offer fair compensation, or nothing at all, they'd sign JJ to the deal.

All in all, it sounds like the Suns made a huge run at the guy to sign and he's not hearing it. Someone got in his ear, and he's just hell bent on going to Atlanta.
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Old 08-05-05, 09:31 AM
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All this trouble over a guy who averaged 17 on a team that averaged 110, and isn't a lockdown defender? And he's 24, it's not like he's just scratching the surface. And it's not like he was the only swingman available this year. Interesting developing story, though.
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Old 08-05-05, 10:43 AM
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The Atlanta ownership situation is funny to me, and JJ looks like an idiot to me. I said this before, but I just know he'll be begging to be traded again in 1-2 years if he goes to Atlanta.
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Old 08-05-05, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
I said this before, but I just know he'll be begging to be traded again in 1-2 years if he goes to Atlanta.
You're not exactly going out on a limb with that one!
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Old 08-05-05, 11:50 AM
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JJ is making a dumb ass decision. I can't wait till he does crap in Atlanta and the Suns make it far into the playoffs again.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:02 PM
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Well, now that there's a holdup in the deal, apparently the Suns are trying to reach out to him again. Not sure why, though.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:24 PM
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Not sure why everyone's bagging on JJ in this situation, the Suns are just as much to blame.

I heard that same interview with Sarver yesterday, and to me it just came across as an experienced businessman who knows how to present his case well, but it was still just one side of the story. Lets look at some of this from Joe's POV:

The Suns go out and sign Nash to a 6 year-$66 million deal. They then go and sign Q to a 5 year-$43 million deal. They then turn to JJ and don't want to give him a 5 year-$50 million extension. The reasoning is it's just business and they can't afford to go giving out 3 big contracts in one summer without even knowing how this team will turn out. Fair enough, but JJ is left by the Suns as the odd man out.

This summer, the Suns go out and tell everybody not to even bother offering JJ a deal, because they're going to match anything that comes down. Again it's just business, why pay more for JJ if you don't have to? If nobody offers him a big deal then he'll have to sign for less with you. Fair enough, but again the Suns business moves are putting the hurt on JJs pocketbook, or at least are trying to.

The Suns say they want to meet with JJ to give him their presentation. Now everyone says JJ is a pretty nice quiet respectful guy, and his agent knows how good of a salesman and a spin man Sarver and the Suns management are, so he advises JJ not to talk to them and give them the opportunity to sweettalk him into a less than market value deal, which is EXACTLY what they were hoping to do. He says just let them submit their offer without all the extra stuff and see what it is.

So they come back with 6 years-$60 million. They took the contract JJ asked them to give him last season and upped it by 1 year, even though he had the best season of his career. Sarver tried to justify the offer yesterday by saying it was comparable to Nash's deal and Ginobli's deal, which isn't really a fair comparison because Nash was an aging point guard that most people thought the Suns overpaid for last year, and Ginobli is one of the rare few that signed for under his market value because he wanted to stay in San Antonio. I don't think it's very realistic to expect many plaers, JJ included, to do the same. This league is all about the money for all parties involved.

So they came back and essentially lowballed him again, and he knew he could get more from Atlanta, so he told the Suns to forget it. I think at this point he's probably just bitter with the way the Suns have treated him, that "it's just business" somehow always means he gets the short end of the stick with them and he wants out.

I'm not really on Sarver's side or JJ's side, I think they're both being idiots frankly, but I can also understand both of their positions. Ultimately though, it's still ATLANTA Joe, there's still time to avoid this debacle.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by WallyOPD
Not sure why everyone's bagging on JJ in this situation, the Suns are just as much to blame.

I heard that same interview with Sarver yesterday, and to me it just came across as an experienced businessman who knows how to present his case well, but it was still just one side of the story. Lets look at some of this from Joe's POV:

The Suns go out and sign Nash to a 6 year-$66 million deal. They then go and sign Q to a 5 year-$43 million deal. They then turn to JJ and don't want to give him a 5 year-$50 million extension. The reasoning is it's just business and they can't afford to go giving out 3 big contracts in one summer without even knowing how this team will turn out. Fair enough, but JJ is left by the Suns as the odd man out.

This summer, the Suns go out and tell everybody not to even bother offering JJ a deal, because they're going to match anything that comes down. Again it's just business, why pay more for JJ if you don't have to? If nobody offers him a big deal then he'll have to sign for less with you. Fair enough, but again the Suns business moves are putting the hurt on JJs pocketbook, or at least are trying to.

The Suns say they want to meet with JJ to give him their presentation. Now everyone says JJ is a pretty nice quiet respectful guy, and his agent knows how good of a salesman and a spin man Sarver and the Suns management are, so he advises JJ not to talk to them and give them the opportunity to sweettalk him into a less than market value deal, which is EXACTLY what they were hoping to do. He says just let them submit their offer without all the extra stuff and see what it is.

So they come back with 6 years-$60 million. They took the contract JJ asked them to give him last season and upped it by 1 year, even though he had the best season of his career. Sarver tried to justify the offer yesterday by saying it was comparable to Nash's deal and Ginobli's deal, which isn't really a fair comparison because Nash was an aging point guard that most people thought the Suns overpaid for last year, and Ginobli is one of the rare few that signed for under his market value because he wanted to stay in San Antonio. I don't think it's very realistic to expect many plaers, JJ included, to do the same. This league is all about the money for all parties involved.

So they came back and essentially lowballed him again, and he knew he could get more from Atlanta, so he told the Suns to forget it. I think at this point he's probably just bitter with the way the Suns have treated him, that "it's just business" somehow always means he gets the short end of the stick with them and he wants out.

I'm not really on Sarver's side or JJ's side, I think they're both being idiots frankly, but I can also understand both of their positions. Ultimately though, it's still ATLANTA Joe, there's still time to avoid this debacle.
Nope. Wrong. They did offer Joe a contract before this season. According to Joe the offer was a joke. Pretty hard of him to call it a joke when he hadn't done anything to prove that he was worth what they offered him. Apparently he's been pissed that he didn't get offered more, and that it wasn't offered last year some time. You can't blame the Suns for not wanting to invest $50 - $60 million in this kid, when he really hadn't played his best ball yet. He's timid in real life, and that affected his game on the court. Then, miraculously, the light went on inside his head and he played like a bat out of hell this season. So, to blame the Suns for not signing him a year ago, is a pretty lame argument. They didn't want to invest a ton of money in a kid who hadn't shown his full potential.

Last edited by Deftones; 08-05-05 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:41 PM
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From what I heard they offered him 5 years-$45 million last season, and he wanted $50 million. Also I'm not blaming the Suns for not signing him last season, I wouldn't have either. I certainly didn't think they'd explode into 62 wins, if everyone knew that and that JJ would be such a big part of it I'm sure they would have signed him up. So even though it's almost universally agreed that the Suns shouldn't have signed him to that deal last season, it's still just one more incident in Joe's mind where they didn't do right by him. I wasn't saying I agreed with all of the reasoning, just trying to present the case from his side.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WallyOPD
So they come back with 6 years-$60 million. They took the contract JJ asked them to give him last season and upped it by 1 year, even though he had the best season of his career. Sarver tried to justify the offer yesterday by saying it was comparable to Nash's deal and Ginobli's deal, which isn't really a fair comparison because Nash was an aging point guard that most people thought the Suns overpaid for last year, and Ginobli is one of the rare few that signed for under his market value because he wanted to stay in San Antonio. I don't think it's very realistic to expect many plaers, JJ included, to do the same. This league is all about the money for all parties involved.
Why on earth would a 6 year $60 million offer need justification? And the comparison to Nash's deal isn't fair why? Because most people thought they overpaid? when in fact it turns out that they didn't overpay?

I don't think it's fair to say the Suns were jerks here. They made a good offer, to play for a team with title hopes. And they wanted to match Atlanta's offer. JJ is the one who asked them not to match Atlanta's offer because he didn't want to play 4th fiddle.

For him, I think, it came down to the fact that he wanted to be the STAR and he knew he would never be that in Phx. Unfortunately (assuming this deal goes through), he's going to find out that he will never really be that in Atlanta either.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:44 PM
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A 17/5/5 guy isn't worth $60M.

These NBA guaranteed contracts have long spiraled out of control.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by WallyOPD
From what I heard they offered him 5 years-$45 million last season, and he wanted $50 million. Also I'm not blaming the Suns for not signing him last season, I wouldn't have either. I certainly didn't think they'd explode into 62 wins, if everyone knew that and that JJ would be such a big part of it I'm sure they would have signed him up. So even though it's almost universally agreed that the Suns shouldn't have signed him to that deal last season, it's still just one more incident in Joe's mind where they didn't do right by him. I wasn't saying I agreed with all of the reasoning, just trying to present the case from his side.

Exactly. That's the point. They offered him fair market value for what he'd done up to that point. He felt it was unfair, which by league standards, was more than fair.

Then, when he has this amazing year, the Suns up the offer, and again Joe feels as though he's been slighted by the team.

He could be playing on championship caliber team for the same money, but he wants to be a superstar. That's the mark of true selfishness, and with that I say good riddance.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
Why on earth would a 6 year $60 million offer need justification? And the comparison to Nash's deal isn't fair why? Because most people thought they overpaid? when in fact it turns out that they didn't overpay?

I don't think it's fair to say the Suns were jerks here. They made a good offer, to play for a team with title hopes. And they wanted to match Atlanta's offer. JJ is the one who asked them not to match Atlanta's offer because he didn't want to play 4th fiddle.

For him, I think, it came down to the fact that he wanted to be the STAR and he knew he would never be that in Phx. Unfortunately (assuming this deal goes through), he's going to find out that he will never really be that in Atlanta either.
You realize that every time we agree on something, I mark it down on my calendar.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
You realize that every time we agree on something, I mark it down on my calendar.


and the calendar has what, three marks in it?
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Old 08-05-05, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan


and the calendar has what, three marks in it?
Yep. Now.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by El Scorcho
A 17/5/5 guy isn't worth $60M.

These NBA guaranteed contracts have long spiraled out of control.
It's crazy, some years nobody can get more than the mid-level, other years, Cuttino Mobley gets $9.5 million per year for 5 years.

Fiscal responsibility, even if it means losing a productive and popular player, is the only road to success.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:54 PM
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It would need justification because everybody knows JJ could get more money from other teams. If someone will offer you $10 million a year and somebody else will offer you $14 million a year, I think the $10 million dollar people need to justify their offer. Whether or not he's actually WORTH $14 million a year (he's not) is irrelevant. Teams overpay for talent all the time, so if you're going to offer less than another team then you need to justify why you're offering less. The fact that the justification seems self explanatory (come here and win, go to Atlanta and disappear into mediocrity) doesn't change the fact that they needed to make it, and JJs agent didn't want his client to get swayed by a glitzy sales pitch and not get top dollar.

As for the Nash comparison, JJ is a young versatile player coming into the prime of his career, Nash was an aging point guard that most people thought was overpaid when he came in last year. The fact that he performed above expectations this season isn't relevant, the point I was trying to make was that from Joe's perspective it doesn't look like the Suns have ever approached negotations with him with the same level of interest and money as they have for other players.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:54 PM
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El Scorcho and I were laughing about the situation last night and were coming up with a list of overpaid players. He had a link on ESPN about current players, but we were both busting out names of past players too.

Glenn Robinson
Tom Gugliotta
Penny Hardaway
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Old 08-05-05, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by WallyOPD
It would need justification because everybody knows JJ could get more money from other teams. If someone will offer you $10 million a year and somebody else will offer you $14 million a year, I think the $10 million dollar people need to justify their offer. Whether or not he's actually WORTH $14 million a year (he's not) is irrelevant. Teams overpay for talent all the time, so if you're going to offer less than another team then you need to justify why you're offering less. The fact that the justification seems self explanatory (come here and win, go to Atlanta and disappear into mediocrity) doesn't change the fact that they needed to make it, and JJs agent didn't want his client to get swayed by a glitzy sales pitch and not get top dollar.

As for the Nash comparison, JJ is a young versatile player coming into the prime of his career, Nash was an aging point guard that most people thought was overpaid when he came in last year. The fact that he performed above expectations this season isn't relevant, the point I was trying to make was that from Joe's perspective it doesn't look like the Suns have ever approached negotations with him with the same level of interest and money as they have for other players.
Again, I call shenanigans. And this isn't just from what Sarver said yesterday.

The Suns have come at JJ full force to meet with him, but he refused to meet with the team for some time. The Suns basically used Nash, Marion and Amare to try and "recruit" JJ to at least meet with the team. JJ continued to refuse, until he basically had to in that meeting w/ Sarver, D'Antoni and Colangelo.

So to say, that they haven't approached him with the same interest is pretty ridiculous, IMO.
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Old 08-05-05, 01:03 PM
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Well that's why I threw in the money comment. The Suns offered Nash more than any other team would. The Suns offered Q more than any other team would. The Suns offered JJ less than other teams would. Again I'm more playing devil's advocate here than anything else. I agree with JJs position more than most people here, apparently, but I'm certainly not on his side in this.
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Old 08-05-05, 01:30 PM
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But, at least with Nash, and to a lesser extend Q had established themselves in the league. Johnson really hadn't done anything up until this past season to show he was worthy of that contract.
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Old 08-05-05, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by WallyOPD
Well that's why I threw in the money comment. The Suns offered Nash more than any other team would. The Suns offered Q more than any other team would. The Suns offered JJ less than other teams would. Again I'm more playing devil's advocate here than anything else. I agree with JJs position more than most people here, apparently, but I'm certainly not on his side in this.
They offered him more money than any team had to that point. Fact that the Hawks then offered more should be irrelevant, especially when they were more than willing to match that offer.

Look, he wants to go to the Hawks, fine. But I think it's way out of line to place any blame on the Suns based on the info we have now.
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Old 08-05-05, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
El Scorcho and I were laughing about the situation last night and were coming up with a list of overpaid players. He had a link on ESPN about current players, but we were both busting out names of past players too.

Glenn Robinson
Tom Gugliotta
Penny Hardaway
Those guys turned out to be big busts, but at least Penny was looking like one of the top 5 in the league when he got his contract.
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Old 08-05-05, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
El Scorcho and I were laughing about the situation last night and were coming up with a list of overpaid players. He had a link on ESPN about current players, but we were both busting out names of past players too.

Glenn Robinson
Tom Gugliotta
Penny Hardaway
All players are overpaid, but even if you consider relative worth, there are probably more overpaid players than regularly-paid ones. Of course, before the current collective bargaining agreement and it's maximum salary, it was getting bad: Juwan Howard comes to mind. Now everyone just wants the max.

To me, the biggest slap in JJ's face was them signing Q at all, since they basically paid a guy to replace him (I know they ended up going with a small lineup with both of them on the floor, but still).

I was wondering what Suns management was saying when they said it was being held up while Atlanta got it's act together. Does this mean the deal can ultimately be blocked? Even if it isn't, if I were JJ, I'd be begging the Suns to take me back at this point.
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