Hey, Hawks: Here’s your chance to get Josh and Joe back

Josh Smith still has more than two and a half seasons left on a $54 million contract. (AP)

Josh Smith still has more than two and a half seasons left on a $54 million contract. (AP)

Josh Smith still has more than two and a half seasons left on a $54 million contract. (AP)

If any NBA general manager out there wants to re-create the magic that was the former Atlanta Hawks, now is the opportunity.

The Detroit Pistons were so fed up with the enormously talented but unfortunately pig-headed Josh Smith that they released the former Hawks’ forward Monday with nearly $40 million left on his contract. Detroit, one of the few teams interested in Smith after the Hawks chose not to re-sign him, gave the power forward a four-year, $54 million contract in 2013. So they’re still obligated to the remainder of his annual $13.5 million salary this season, as well as two more.

The Pistons can blame Joe Dumars, their former president of basketball operations, for this mess. His replacement, coach and relative general manager Stan Van Gundy, clashed with Smith immediately. But the team’s decision to eat the contract is stunning.

Van Gundy said, “In fairness to Josh, being a highly versatile 10-year veteran in this league, we feel it’s best to give him his freedom to move forward.  We have full respect for Josh as a player and a person.”

Of course he respects Josh. That’s why he dumped him.

I guess honesty was out of the question.

Smith is a wonderfully talented player who had the ability to dominate at both ends of the court. It was a bonus for the Hawks that Smith was from Atlanta. So they put up with him for nine seasons, waiting and hoping he would change.

The Pistons couldn’t make it through two, realizing he wouldn’t.

Before you ask: No, the Hawks will not be interested.

Who would take Smith? The talent-starved Los Angeles Lakers would seem like a possibility. Possibly so would the New York Knicks because, well, they’re the New York Knicks.

How about Brooklyn? Oh wait, they’ve already got problems. The Nets have the league’s highest payroll at more than $91.2 million but a record of only 11-18 to show for it. (Comparison: The 19-7 Hawks are at about $59.9 million) Brooklyn reportedly is looking to clean house and have made Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez available in trade.

Johnson remains a solid player, even if he’s on the backside of his career, and leads Brooklyn in scoring at 16.3 points per game. But he’s absurdly overpaid, the result of the decision by Hawks’ ownership and former general manager Rick Sund to give him a max contract. Johnson is the NBA’s third highest paid player this season at $23.18  million and he’s due $24,894 million next season.

So how about it, Hawks’ fans? Ready for Joe and Josh show again?

Kidding.


A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Falcons can make most of this illogical journey
— AJC: Short takes: Falcons stun Saints, and it’s thanks to the defense
— AJC: Live: Falcons finally in a can’t-lose situation
— MyAJC: Falcons still have playoff shot — and that’s not a negative
— MyAJC: There goes Justin Upton, and maybe ’15 season with him
— AJC: Justin Upton is latest chapter of Braves’ strip down
— MyAJC: Ranking Atlanta’s head coaches, from Budenholzer to…
— AJC: After crushing Cavs, Hawks (18-7) have earned some attention
— MyAJC: Expect Falcons’ roster overhaul, regardless of finish
— AJC: 5 thoughts on Falcons, starting with Arthur Blank’s marketing problem
— MyAJC: John Hart: ‘It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees’
— AJC: Falcons reality check: One great half won’t get it done
— AJC: What would it take for Falcons to keep Mike Smith
 — MyAJC: Hawks go from off-cour embarrassment to on-court success
— AJC: Playoff committee got teams right but changes are needed
— AJC: Jimbo Fisher leaves Georgia off ballot; Bielema puts Tech 19th on his (huh?)
— AJC: Playoff committee got teams right but changes are needed
— MyAJC: SEC title: Mizzou can’t compete with Alabama –nor can any team
— AJC: Short takes: Sims leads way as Alabama rules SEC again
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Georgia Tech ends Florida State’s run
— AJC: New rankings make college football playoff look like set up
— MyAJC: Rare situation: Eyes are off Bulldogs and on Jackets

 

Reader Comments 0

47 comments
drmondo667
drmondo667

How is this considered a blog when you haven't posted anything new in a month? During the biggest run of the Hawks' history? Seriously? This is my first time back to the AJC since last spring. I stopped coming here because of the lack of coverage across the board for Atlanta sports (as well as the quality of that coverage). Nice to see things haven't changed. 

LFP6
LFP6

Want those two back?

Let me quote Grumpy Cat:


NO.

Jerry916
Jerry916

Speaking of the Nets....let's hope that they miss the playoffs, get the 1st pick in the lottery, and the Hawks own it.


The Hawks could go deep into the playoffs, and get the 1st pick in the draft.  


Okafor from Duke would look nice in a Hawks uni. 


Building blocks of Teague, Okafor, Payne, & Schorder.


Dawgfun
Dawgfun

Hopefully Danny Ferry can learn and rebuild his reputation, because his moves at GM have been superb, including dumping these two guys.


If the Hawks win with this group and  find new ownership that is committed to Atlanta and winning- then the sky is the limit. I personally would like to see Ferry remain the GM and use his own mistakes as learning's for himself and others.


Proud of the Hawks.  Nice to see them on the right track - something that I thought might never happen before Ferry came on board.



candlin14
candlin14

Forget Josh Smith and his trigger happy ways!!! He is garbage. I wouldn't mind seeing Joe Joe back in the lineup! Always liked him but when it came down to playoff time, he never lived up to his contract when it mattered.

agIII
agIII

As much as I like Josh, he has no place in Atlanta.  Our new stretch 4 can actually hit 3's (Mike Scott).  It would have been interesting to see what Bud could have done with Josh, but Josh would have to change his mindset.


Joe Johnson, well if he were let go and we did not have his contract, yes, would take him.  Not sure if I would tanker with starting lineup, but certainly an upgrade over TabS.   Going back in time, if the Hawks would have had Korver instead of Marvin, I think they would have been a lot better.

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

Funny thing is half the West contenders have shown interest in Josh in the last couple of days. As bad as his shot selection is, the biggest baggage he had was his contract. Now that Detroit is eating it and people know they can get him on a minimum salary, they are lining up out West. 


Wouldn't want him back here in anything more than a bench role though, and he probably wouldn't want to come back here in that role either. 

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Only in pro sports can you eat a $40 million mistake like this, or like the Braves/Uggla debacle, and survive. It wouldn't seem like a sustainable business model but the teams know they can jack up ticket prices ad infinitum and we'll always pay.  

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Ferry's the one guy that won't overspend. He goes absurdly to the other extreme and will hardly spend a nickel. We are SO lucky to have Coach Bud to make up the difference!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

The Joe Johnson contract was the reason the original Spirit ownership group started fighting. I always agreed with the one that didn't want to give Joe the big contract and everyone got mad at him and pushed him out. Now we all see he was right all along! This overpaying of players is a never-ending Atlanta problem - ranging from Joe Johnson to BJ to Uggla to Matt Ryan to Roddy and (soon to be) Julio! Will these stupid GM's never stop?

tmc
tmc

@TreeRollins Totally agree Tree! it's THE #1 problem with ALL the sports franchises here in the ATL. 

Every GM over pays to either keep a player they shouldn't or sign a free agent for way more money than they should. Either way, it kills the club. Look at the Falcons: Sam freakin Baker was signed for BIG money and everyone knew he couldn't stay healthy. Doesn't stop there. TD has signed or resigned many players to really big contracts that limit the club. Braves are self explanitory, but why can the Pistons cut J. Smith with $40+ mil left on his contract and the Braves can't even admit they made a mistake with BJU? The Hawks have a very good GM, who actually traded away two of the biggest contractual mistakes in franchise history, signed a great coach and has brought in above average talent at a reasonable price... but is exiled because of a stupid comment that was behind closed doors. (not right, but c'mon people)

There is a reason the NE Patriots continue to win every year. They don't make stupid spending mistakes... and if they do, they get rid of the problem right away.

The kicker is the clubs in atlanta don't even know the bad message it sends to the fan base when they over spend and let it effect the team for a decade. 

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

@TreeRollins The first Joe contract -- the one that caused all the infighting -- wasn't a bad deal at all. 5 years and $80 million for prime Joe is a good deal. The second deal -- 6 years, $126 million in 2010 -- was the killer. 


I agree with your other point though, that ATL teams have a long history of finding good-but-not-great players and paying them like they are great. Of course, only some of those players get criticized for it. 

58Supersports
58Supersports

Hell no...don't screw the Hawks up. Hawks doing good and it's time to bring FERRY back!

bpgt
bpgt

People are really taking this article seriously?  He was clearly joking.  I'm guessing a lot of people didn't read until the end where he said "kidding".


The Hawks have a good thing going right now.  No need to make any stupid decisions.  Josh Smith is a "me" first player that doesn't deserve anywhere near the money he is making.  Joe Johnson is actually a good ball player.  I would take him back any day over Josh.

NewnanT-H
NewnanT-H

The best home team in the Barclays Center next year (and probably well beyond) will be the New York Islanders. 

GwinnettFred
GwinnettFred

No thanks and I hope the Nets do totally clean house seeing how the Hawks have the rights to swap 1st round position with them this year!

-sting-
-sting-

ha, um no. mikey gearon wrote up that contract for his star jj. jj was an owner killer as i think that contract got levinson involved bringing in ferry. mikey didn't like it when he promptly dispatched jj. ultimately the rest of the story brought down the BASG for one more divorce.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Braves take note!  


If a team like the Pistons can eat the contract of Smith, who contributes a lot more than the .178 hitting, 200 strikeout a year BJ Upton, then you can give Bossman Jr his walking papers too. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

I like it Schooltzee! Your columns most often are complete horse hockey. In this one you at least admit it...

50Concept
50Concept

josh will want major money to come back---a lot more than the chump change they paid him before

honest_abe
honest_abe

where's rodfromcollegepark? your boy is so good a team thought it'd be better to pay him 40 mil to leave. heh

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

Why bring back a problem?  Josh could not help the Pistons and Van Gundy was not going to waste time with him.  Sometimes fans make you wonder if they are aware of what BBall is.  Bring him back is ludicrous, as far as Muscala and Payne they will accept their rolls and become fine players.LOLOL...Josh needs to come back home, this guy must think we are talking about the Falcons.

HerschelScores
HerschelScores

J Smooth needs to come home to the ATL.  We need a big man off the bench.  Imagine him on the bench instead of Muscala or whenever we have Payne on the bench.  Put those two in the D league and lets roll with J Smooth this season.  I miss the highlight factory.  San Antonio east?  Nonsense.  Not without a Duncan or Parker and the Hawks have neither.  And before you flamers respond, Horford is no Duncan and Teague is no Parker.  Wake up ATL!  JSMooth needs to come back home.  Welcome home Josh.  

강병완
강병완

@HerschelScores I totally agree with you. bringing josh smith back will seriously put us for a NBA final contention we need just one more piece to be a complete team and that is josh smith. josh coming off the bench to play his game and shoot his three's we will be amazing. 

MikeS777
MikeS777

haha thanks, but no thanks, Jeff.  Their time in ATL is done.  As for who's interested in Smith?  ESPN mentioned teams like the Clippers, Mavs, and Heat are interested.  I think Detroit has to pay the rest of his contract, so these teams have nothing to lose picking him up.

I don't think anyone is interested in JJ unless Brooklyn cuts him loose and pays the rest of that ridiculous contract he saddles teams with.

Kynik
Kynik

As soon as Ferry hired Budenholzer, Smith was gone. Coach Bud loves spacing and the three-pointer. For all of Smith's athleticism and defensive prowess, NOBODY but Josh Smith wants to see Josh Smith hoisting ill-advised three-pointers. Personally, I'd love to see Smith sign with LA. I'd make popcorn on a nightly basis to watch him clash with Kobe.

drew48
drew48

I hope he signs with a big market team so we can get more coverage of all his bad decisions and run-ins with players or coaches. He's entertaining to say the least.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

"So how about it, Hawks’ fans? Ready for Joe and Josh show again?"


I just threw up in my mouth.


Wow, JS, got a lot of folks unhappy with you writing this bit.  But we all read it!

GMAB
GMAB

Glad you're kidding. Two divas.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

Be offended by this non article people, Schultz you've really dropped to a new low.  I mean we all know you are the 'Fluff Writer' on the staff with you lame attempts at humor in your lame columns but this one really stinks.  This is the kind of CRAP we have to endure b/c of a lack of competition to the AJC.  Nice job.

warfalcon
warfalcon

The Hawks have a clean house no use in bring the old SOFA and Chair back in the house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AceDawg
AceDawg

Josh Smith would be cut by Budenholzer after his first 3 point shot. It will be more fun to watch him sign with LA and get into tussles with Kobe. 

SonomaCountyDawg
SonomaCountyDawg

These two moves alone should earn Ferry GM of the Decade, racist comments aside. I couldn't believe the Nets actually took JJ's contract off our hands when it happened. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

Don't think you'll get many takers on today's offer.

JackClemens
JackClemens

No, though part of me is curious to see what Budenholzer could do with Josh.

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

Wow. Where are the Josh fans at now? Lack of effort, lack of discipline, lack of smarts, and now lack of a team.

TheVoice
TheVoice

More proof that the Hawks need to bring back Danny Ferry from his suspension.  He made a mistake, will always have to live with it but has already shown he knows what to do in getting rid of these former players and contracts.



ATLfaninVA
ATLfaninVA

How you and Chris Vivlamore (spelling?…ehhh…who cares) are employed is as puzzling as how Mike Smith and TD are still employed by the Falcons, All four of you are stealing paychecks. Someone call the cops!!!!!

williar
williar

I don't know if I should laugh or be offended!

kevkat
kevkat

Just to waste time writing this article shows you have nothing to talk about today JS...lol