The Danny Ferry era is off and running at a blistering pace in Atlanta.
Just one week removed from being named the new general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, Ferry has already drafted two young pieces and traded away two starters, including its star scorer and highest-paid player, shooting guard Joe Johnson.
According to multiple reports, the Hawks reached an agreement in principle with the New Jersey Nets on Monday night to trade Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets for guards DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow and centers Johan Petro and Jordan Williams. Stevenson, who became a free agent on July, will come to the Hawks as part of a sign-and-trade.
The deal also includes the Hawks getting a 2013 lottery-protected first-round pick the Nets received from the Houston Rockets. The pick is protected until 2017, at which point, if the Rockets have yet to finish a season outside the lottery, Atlanta would receive a second-round selection and cash.
ESPN first reported that the two teams had agreed upon terms.
Additionally, soon after the Johnson trade broke, multiple reports stated that forward Marvin Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, had been moved as well. Williams, 26, was traded to the Utah Jazz for point guard Devin Harris, according to the reports.
Both trades have been agreed on in principle, but may not be finalized until the NBA’s moratorium is lifted on July 11 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Both moves are widely believed to be part of a cap-clearing effort by the Hawks, who have been hindered in free agency by current contracts on the books, especially Johnson’s $124 million contract they signed the six-time All-Star to back in 2010. By moving the remaining $89.2 million owed to Johnson, 31, over the next four years and taking on the expiring contracts of Morrow, Farmar and Petro — as well as a club option on Jordan Williams — Ferry and his staff have cleared up significant cap room moving forward.
Williams was owed more than $15 million over the two years remaining from his contract he signed in 2009, but, instead, the Hawks are now responsible for Harris’ contract which expires at the end of the next season.
Johnson, who is one of the highest-paid players in the NBA, has averaged 20.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game since joining Hawks prior to the 2005-06 season. Williams averaged 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 487 career games with Atlanta.