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Zach Lowe: Everyone wants the same lopsided deal Atlanta got for Joe Johnson

Think it was a good deal for Atlanta when Danny Ferry unloaded Joe Johnson to Brooklyn? You are not the only one.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in an long running trade deadline e-mail diary between Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe of Grantland was a comment regarding the state of the mega-deal in the NBA.

You know, the big player for big player, high salary for another high salary or multiple salaries deals? With first round picks and swapalicious sweetners attached? It's the best, right?

When Danny Ferry took over as GM of the Hawks he came in, ate a turkey sandwich, and then unloaded from the team what was thought to be unloadable, the Joe Johnson contract.

He traded Joe and his massive contract to Brooklyn for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, a 2013 1st round draft pick (Shane Larkin was later selected) and a 2017 2nd round draft pick.

Also, Ferry gained the ability to swap picks with Brooklyn for both the 2014 and 2015 drafts.

It was fantastic that Ferry unloaded Joe and the huge back end of his six year, 123 million dollar deal. To get all expiring contracts back was a bonus. To get picks was incredible. To get the swap pick sweetener for multiple years was very surprising.

So Hawks fans were thrilled, but what was the impact of the deal across the league? Did it impact this season's deadline deals at all?

Says Lowe:

Zach Lowe (12:20 PM EST)
I also agree with the theory that GMs are just getting smarter. A lot of guys have looked at the Atlanta-Brooklyn Joe Johnson deal and told me, basically, "Every team trying to make a big trade wants a lopsided return like Atlanta got." And there are just fewer guys who can get hoodwinked now.

Wait, what? Atlanta got the best of someone in a deal? Not just that, but it's the recent gold standards of lopsided deals by which all other teams wish they had?


Danny Ferry came off the street, suited up and scored 100 on his first test, and it set the foundation for every sweet thing that has followed.

It hasn't netted a top-flight free agent, yet, but it has set the Hawks free from the certain salary cap quagmire that was going to follow. Toss in the Marvin Williams deal that occurred after Danny finished the Johnson deal, had a cream soda and then scalded Utah and it may go down as an all-time franchise moment.

(UPDATE: As Raj Prashad notes to us on The Twitter, since I'm including Marvin Williams, should be noted Ferry got Kyle Korver for a wish sandwich that offseason, too. Definitely noted. #KyleStreak)

It was good at the time, so so very good, but to see it now is to see it in even greater perspective, and the vision is oh so sweet.