2012 NBA Free Agency: Day Two Recap

By Quixem Ramirez

The second day of the 2012 NBA Free Agency period was rather uneventful. There weren’t any notable free agent acquisitions, though speculation didn’t cease, but there were two pertinent trades that deserve to discussed. And off we go!

Mar 26, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson (2) goes up for a shot as New Jersey Nets center Johan Petro (27) defends during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

Atlanta traded Joe Johnson to Brooklyn for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams and 2013 lottery-protected pick via Houston

Danny Ferry orchestrated a nice haul — as nice as return could possibly look with the words Johan Petro, that is — for one of the worst contracts in basketball. Joe Johnson is due $89.4 million over the next four years (AAV: $22.4 million). The fact that Atlanta found themselves a willing trade partner for Johnson was especially fortuitous.

Not only was Brooklyn willing to hamstring their future for an effective, yet extremely overpaid, scorer but they had oodles of cap space and, most importantly, desperation. Brooklyn is desperate for success and their recent agreement with Gerald Wallace and deal for Johnson certainly affirms this.

So how did Atlanta win this despite giving up a really talented player in exchange what will likely amount to little on-court production? NBA analysts throw around this term quite often — flexibility. The reprieve that of trading Johnson ostensibly represents a temporary reset button on the entire operation. The prior regime never pushed that reset button, opting to create mediocre teams instead. Ferry finally pushed that reset button. Atlanta’s newfound flexibility — here is that term again — is invaluable.

Seriously. Get this: Atlanta traded away $105 million in long-term salary for $23.5 million. When you factor in Farmar’s potential buy-out, saving $2.75 million, the Hawks will be capable of bringing in Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Thanks Johan Petro.

Atlanta traded Marvin Williams to Utah for Devin Harris

I also liked this deal for Atlanta. Harris and Williams are both set to earn approximately the same amount this season (they’re separated by a negligible $300,000 difference). Williams, though, is on the hook for a $7.5 million player option next season. Chances are that he will accept the option which would’ve put a decent sized dent in Atlanta’s plans.

Yes, Harris won’t have a significant role with Atlanta but he’ll succeed as a nice safety valve backing up Jeff Teague. It’s not like Atlanta is aiming to win this year anyway so a reduction in wins should be expected. Ferry, again, ingeniously freed up more money.

While the Spurs, once again, sit back idly.