Browsing Posts tagged Joe Johnson

Yesterday, the Nets fired head coach, Avery Johnson. Johnson, who was November’s Coach of the Month, watched his team post a 3-10 record in December. Many believe Johnson no longer inspired his team. Others are pointing the finger at Deron Williams who has a history of pushing out head coaches. In either scenario, the Nets will turn to assistant coach, PJ Carlisemo. Carliesemo’s career coaching record, 204-296, may not inspire the struggling Nets. Could Phil Jackson solve Brooklyn’s woes?

Reports suggest the Nets and their lavish owner will reach out Jackson. Despite ‘retiring’ after the 2010 season, Jackson seems to have the itch to coach again. Earlier this season, Jackson was shunned by the Lakers. Details were not disclosed, but many believe Jackson wanted a sweet heart coaching package (i.e. not travelling for some road trips). Despite some petty demands, Jackson brings along his championship rings and success with the Triangle Offense. Jackson’s Triangle Offenses captured 11 of the last 20 NBA Titles.

Phil Jackson brings a lot of success and flare, but he’s not a great fit for Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s roster is comprised of younger players that lack an identify. Jackson is used to having one or two dominant, go-to players at his disposal and Brooklyn lacks a true leader. In addition, Brooklyn does not have the personnel to run the Triangle Offense. The Triangle Offense is predicated by ball movement, player moment, and crisp outside shooting. Williams and Joe Johnson are above average shooters and facilitators, but Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries are not ideal fits. In fact, the Triangle Offense needs a hybrid power forward that can pass well and shoot from the outside. Andray Blatche fits that billing, but Humphries isn’t making $10 million to sit on the bench. The Triangle Offense takes time to install and perfect, so the impantient Nets may not want to wait.

Phil Jackson is 67-years-old and should stay retired if he can’t fully committ himself. If he did come back, Jackson needs a ready-made contender and Brooklyn needs a lot of work. Brooklyn has some talented players, but the pieces simply don’t fit together. Williams and Johnson need a lot of touches and the Triangle Offense takes the ball out of the point guard’s hands. Despite his past success and history of coaching in New York, this is one situation Phil Jackson should avoid.

Jim Dolan just made his biggest mistake ever as owner of the New York Knicks, which is pretty telling. Choosing not to re-sign Jeremy Lin ranks above hiring the walking punchline known as Isiah Thomas and subjecting New York to the coaching tactics of the much maligned Larry Brown. One can only wonder what was going through Dolan’s mind as he failed to re-sign his 23-year-old point guard who averaged 18 points and eight assists per game. While many boast that Houston’s offer sheet was ‘ridiculous’, the Knicks failed to make an initial attempt to re-sign Lin. This Linsane circus could have been avoided at the start of free agency. Instead, the Knicks will rue in their lack of persistence to get a deal done. 

Instead of locking him up on July 1st, the Knicks reached out to a pair of 38+ year old point guards (Steve Nash and Jason Kidd) while working out a trade for the human blimp known as Raymond Felton. Had the Knicks made an initial competitive offer, Houston may have turned their attention to re-signing their own point guard, Goran Dragic. Instead, the Knicks told Lin to hit the market and see what he could get. In essence, the Knicks fed themselves a ‘poison pill’ by making this decision. To make matters even worse, the Knicks will simply let Lin go to Houston without receiving any sort of compensation. Talk about shafting a guy that single handedly ended the ugly, bitter Cablevision-MSG standoff last winter. 

While it’s easy to argue that Lin’s small sample size of games played doesn’t warrant a hefty contract, Lin has demonstrated that he has star qualities. Lin’s 38 point performance against Kobe’s Lakers was masterful. Lin’s late game heroics against the Toronto Raptors demonstrated poise and leadership. Those qualities obviously don’t matter to Dolan’s Knicks. As a 23-year-old point guard, Lin’s poise and statistics put his contemporaries (Kidd and Nash included) to shame. 

The Knicks have never been shy to spend money, so it’s baffling that they would let one year (Lin’s $14 million 2013-2014 salary) stand in their way. Nevermind the luxury tax predicament–things frequently change in the NBA. One of the Knicks’ larger, expiring contracts (looking at you, Amare) could be moved to free room. If Joe Johnson’s albatross, three-year contract can be moved, one team will definitely take one year of Amare Stoudemire on. However, the Knicks won’t have to make that decision now as they let their floor general go to Houston.

While we are on the subject of Joe Johnson, Nets owner, Mikhail Prokhorov doesn’t seem too worried about luxury tax or salary cap hits. Prokorov invested nearly a $300 million of long-term commitments in an effort to take over New York basketball. On paper, the Nets appear to be the superior team and Prokhorov will keep encouraging to the Knicks to let their star players go. 

At the end of the day, all roads in the Eastern Conference lead through Miami. By simply letting Lin leave, the Knicks have taken a giant step backwards. Lin did struggle against the Heat last season, but he only had one chance to play them. The prospect of Felton engineering the Knick offense surely doesn’t scare LeBron James or Dwayne Wade. 

Jeremy Lin had something that the rest of the Knicks simply don’t have–the ‘It Factor’. Lin’s desire to win and be successful was second to none. Here’s to hoping Houston can enjoy a player that gave New York basketball fans hope for the first time in over a decade. 

No team has been as active during the offseason as the Nets, who will begin the 2012/2013 season in their new home of Brooklyn. It may take some time for the team to band together and gel, but as the year wears on, the Nets may become a darkhorse in the Eastern Conference. Does that make them a worthy team to back with your free NBA picks?

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Yesterday, Deron Williams announced (via Twitter) that he would re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were able to offer more years (five) and dollars ($98 million) than the Dallas Mavericks were able to. Williams has been practicing at the Net facilities and has been extremely pleased with the team’s off-season moves, so this deal wasn’t a major shock to anyone. Williams, a Top 3 point guard, averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists last season.

While the Nets have agreed in principle with Williams and Gerald Wallace while agreeing to a Joe Johnson trade, Billy King and Net management has focused on acquiring Dwight Howard. Many, including yours truly, thought the Nets had no chance to trade for Dwight. However, the Nets are offering Marshon Brooks, two sign-and-trades (Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez) as well as three future first round picks. Howard is obviously the kingpin of this deal and won’t come cheaply, so expect the Magic to try to shed some bad contracts (i.e. Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu). Given the Nets financial obligations, expect a third team to be engaged.

Should the Nets acquire Dwight Howard, their ‘Big 4’ of Howard, Williams, Johnson, and Wallace would be among the league’s best. While I don’t think this team could beat Miami right away, they’ll have opportunity to be competitive. That’s a lot more than 27 other teams can say.

Last night, the Nets and Atlanta Hawks agreed to a trade that will send shooting guard, Joe Johnson to Brooklyn for package of expiring contracts and a lottery protected first round pick. Effectively, the Hawks shed a $90 million contract while the Nets bolstered their starting lineup in an effort to keep Deron Williams. Johnson has averaged at least 18.2 points per game during his seven years with Atlanta. By making this trade, signing Gerald Wallace, and potentially Deron Williams, the Nets do not have the money or assets to acquire Dwight Howard

Sources say that the Magic were unwillingly to talk trade with the Nets. Currently, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries are not under contract and the Nets are not willing to part with Marshon Brooks in any deal. A sign-and-trade isn’t possible and the Nets lack the cap room to get Howard. Trading Gerald Wallce isn’t a possibility, either. The Nets are expected to re-sign both Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez.

From the Nets’ perspective, I don’t understand why they would take on Joe Johnson’s contract. The Nets will effectively pay Johnson $90 million over the next three seasons. The Nets could amnesty Johnson next season, but that wouldn’t make much sense. Bottom line, the Nets are pulling out all the stops to keep Deron Williams.

Many expect Deron to re-sign with the Nets and a starting five of Williams-Johnson-Wallace-Humphries-Lopez could vie for a Top 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This lineup lacks to the firepower to challenge the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, but should be good enough to be a playoff contender. 

The NBA playoffs begin Saturday, and while both the Knicks and Nets finished closer to last than to the playoffs (the Nets having been last in the conference) the show will go on. There are four match-ups that will begin this weekend, and I’m going to give my prediction for each series.