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Are we still in the playoffs? Selling draft picks, losing Mike Woodson, and max contracts for Joe Johnson.

Yesterday this report came out via Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo!

Still, the possibility is strong that Brown will coach the 76ers, because Woodson wouldn’t leave an Eastern Conference contender unless the Hawks low-ball him in contract talks at season’s end. His deal is expiring with Atlanta, and several sources familiar with the Hawks’ plans predict an offer that Woodson could easily refuse. …

The possibility of Brown coaching the 76ers could rest largely on how things play out with the Hawks. There’s been a cool relationship between management and Woodson, and sources say that the organization’s priority isn’t to reward him with an expensive contract extension. The Hawks are pooling resources to get maximum money available for Joe Johnson. The message has been made clear to the Hawks: Offer Johnson a max contract extension on July 1, and they’re likely to keep him.

Sources say that this is the reason Atlanta is willing to sell its first-round pick for $3 million this summer, and the reason that they’ll likely offer no more than a three-year contract for $1.8 to $2 million a year to a possible Woodson successor. Woodson could expect a bigger offer to stay on the job, but perhaps not by much. For Woodson, the 76ers could offer leverage to leave, but he would have to weigh leaving a legitimate Eastern Conference contender for a flawed roster in Philadelphia.

First, I understand this rumor/report is driven by fiances as much as strategy, but I have never seen selling draft picks work out well. See Phoenix for an example. Nor do I get excited about low balling any coach to keep Joe Johnson.

It just makes no sense. You are either saying 1) coaching matters little or 2) Woodson as coach is not necessary but perfectly acceptable. And so that means Joe Johnson is the lynch pen for whatever the Hawks are doing moving forward. As leader and alpha dog, the Hawks are looking like a second round and out team, and since coaching clearly is peripheral, it seems the organization would be fine riding that level of success in the future.

I have never been against keeping Joe Johnson. Losing him would be a huge risk and at the very least a large adjustment for this team, but what I have always worried about is keeping Joe Johnson at the expense any kind of future flexibility. This plan appears to not only be fine with destroying flexibility down the road but the immediate flexibility starting with this years draft.

The risk of signing Joe is pigeonholing this team into what has made it a second round and done team, but this strategy, constrained by money or not, seems to guarantee it.

Obviously a rumor, but not a good one. In other news, I just lost a large bet. Word of Mike Woodson leaving somehow just got packaged in a way that made me sad. I owe people money.