Who's crazy, Sam Smith or Doug Thonus? My money's on Smith...

In his latest blog, Sam Smith throws out Joe Johnson as his number one target this off-season.

If I were the Bulls, I'd step up aggressively and offer him the maximum
deal. I might not do the sign-and-trade, but allow a clause for a year
extension or work out an insurance deal for a sixth year. From
everything I've heard, the Bulls would have to mess it up to lose

Well neither of us are likely to ever work for an NBA front office, but if he really thinks this, my odds have to be better right?   

Joe Johnson on a max contract?  You want to pay Joe Johnson 18 million a year for the next five seasons?   Let's also be clear, whatever he's talking about with some kind of quazi-option insurance deal for a sixth year (whatever that was) isn't legal in the CBA and isn't going to happen unless there is a sign in trade.

Let's be clear, this isn't setting for Joe Johnson either.  He specifically says he'd pursue Johnson over LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as a first option (largely because he believes he'll be successful whereas he won't with the other guys).

Joe Johnson who:
- Is one of the league leaders in isolation plays every year.   Yes, we ran Ben Gordon out of town for hogging the ball, but we want to bring in the guy who runs about twice as many isos a season?

- Can't defend or rebound.  Let's forget the fact that Johnson is tall and focus on the fact that with his extra height he still barely outrebounds Ben Gordon, and he doesn't really out defend him either.  Johnson's tall but slow, and he can't adequately defend the shooting guard position and should probably be moved to small forward. 

- Is older and has a ton of miles on him already and likely to slow down very noticeably over the next few seasons.

- Hasn't been able to lead his team anywhere past the second round despite having a fairly talented roster to work with.   He's also basically flamed out in the playoffs every single year he's made them sporting a career 13.7 PER in the playoffs with a 15.8, 12.5, and 14.5 with Atlanta the past three seasons.

- Hasn't ever been a dominant player in the NBA.   At his peak, there's no time anyone would ever consider Johnson a top 10 player and probably not a top 15 player either.

The Bulls should not want Joe Johnson at the maximum salary.   Not unless they are willing to go very deep into the luxury tax, because Joe Johnson's probably only worth around 12 million a season.  

They are better off not spending any money, staying far under the cap and using their financial leverage to make unbalanced trades than pursuing Joe Johnson.   It's a losing proposition.   He's too expensive, not good enough, not a good fit, and aging fast.   Let's let Johnson go to the Knicks for the maximum salary and watch them flounder for the next five years instead.


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  • If this, further in his article, could happen, I wouldn't be all that upset. But that is a gigantic if. And I'd still rather see Johnson around 12-14/year if they could (doubtful).

    "Now this part would be just guessing as the Bosh scenario could play out in a dozen ways. But then if you were the Bulls, you

  • In reply to jt563905:

    I've been souring on Bosh lately. Maybe it was the tweeter stuff. It's bad enough he looks like a girl, but now he's acting like one with that "where should i go" crap? Or maybe it's the fact he didn't play with a broken nose when his team was fighting for a playoff spot (and Ginobli didn't miss a beat).

    I wouldn't be happy seeing the Bulls give up much to get him. And then have him for 6 years on a max deal??? Scaaaary.

    No thanks. I'd pass on Bosh, unless I could get him for five years without giving anyone up. I'd still be wary, but I suppose you have to spend the money on someone, although I don't know how I'd feel about staring at Ru Paul in basketball shoes for the next 6 years.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    Well really what do you want? Short of Lebron, who's probably not going anywhere, any player you could possibly get your hands on has warts. Bosh has the least of them, and fits with this team very well. If you can find another way to get a 24-10 guy with a 25 PER who's only going to be 26 next season, then great. Otherwise Bosh is the right target.

  • In reply to WearShades:

    I'm starting to see some appeal to the Bulls splitting the $20m (or so) on 2 players because, like you said, these guy all have warts.

    About a month ago, I would have agreed with maxing LBJ, Wade, Bosh, Johnson. Now I'm not so sure about the latter two.

    Maybe instead you add 2 quality guys and hope Rose and Noah make big leaps. Can Rose be a top 10 player? Can Noah be a top 20 player? If they can be, I think you're a top 4 team with two quality players added to the current core.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    Your theory would only work if you could get these two talents at reasonable prices which I seriously doubt you can. Everyone who has played the cap game is going to be buying something, and as such the prices for these guys will be hugely inflated. I think paying Bosh the max is a better value than overpaying two non-stars, which I think is the reality of the situation.

  • In reply to WearShades:

    Also I fear Noah may become like Deng in that he'll be overvalued, overpaid and will become untradeable.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    Joe johnson's three year playoff showing make me not interested for what I assume he will be asking....I want Mo Cheeks to coach (with scottie n harp and or Bill Cartright too) n David Lee...then trade everything ya can besides Taj Noah n Rose....that is where I hope they start next season

  • In reply to WearShades:

    Sam Smith gets it on the head coaching search (MO CHEEKS), but not in FA (Joe Johnson).

    The Bulls need to go all in and pull a Boston-type move when they got both Allen and Garnett.

    Wade and Bosh!!!

  • In reply to WearShades:

    I think we should sign a power forward through free agency and draft a SG. Honestly, I don't think it's that hard to find a shooting guard. Just my opinion though. Oh, and if we can, we can get a second tier SG like Anthony Morrow. He could be like a J.R. Smith-type for the Bulls

  • In reply to Everitt:

    I'd be down to sign a guy like Morrow in a worst case scenario, but I think even he'll get overpaid. The major perk there is if you're not signing him to a ridiculous contract, at least you don't have a bad deal and can use the cap space later or to make unbalanced trades like Doug has been saying.

    Some interesting shooting guards in the draft. I like James Anderson a lot, and Paul George would fit pretty nicely next to Rose IMO. Only question for me would be if he could guard the 2, but I think he's got the quickness and athleticism to pull it off.

  • In reply to derza222:

    Don't sleep on Quiny Pondexter.

    He's put up 19ppg and 7rpg in the shadow of Brandon Roy at UW.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    No matter how much you suggest otherwise, he's not going to magically become a SG.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    what if magic isnt necessary? hes 6'6'' 210, so hes the same size as anderson and henry, who are projected as SGs. except quincy is a much better athlete than them, so hes more likely to actually defend SGs as opposed to letting them blow by him. he's not a great 3 pt shooter now (35%), but his FT% (83%) makes one think he has the tools to be a better shooter. why not a SG?

  • In reply to Gavolt:

    His college game was somewhere between SF and PF. His speed is that of a SF on a good day. He's not a SG.

  • In reply to Gavolt:

    Speaking of Sam Smith being crazy, I'd rather have Joe Johnson than Monta Ellis. I think a sign and trade for Bosh is pretty feasible, which means we've gotta find SOMEBODY to spend the cap space on. If you could sign and trade Bosh and still have max contract money to spend on two midlevel guys...who would they be?

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Sam's crazy. I'm sorry, but Johnson at the max (which is, if I'm not mistaken, significantly higher than LBJ, Bosh, and D-Wade's max) would simply be a bad move. Going in hard and offerring it to him immediately - as Sam suggests doing - would be turning that bad move into our best case scenario. If we end up overpaying him when we strike out on all the better options, so be it, I can live with that. What I can't live with is the idea that we'd sacrifice two seasons worth of roster building in the hopes of landing a superstar, and then not even attempting to land a superstar. There are only three of those available this summer, and JJ isn't one of them.

  • In reply to Everitt:


    I think you are a little crazy, if you think the Bulls are fine with Hinrich as their SG.;_ylt=AoXxd73ZrganRn1q_t9Oh0_PPKB4

    The stats don't lie. The Bulls need to add depth to that position in the DRAFT.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Meh, I'd rather draft a big to properly fill out our front court rotation. Then sign Anthony Morrow, and buy a few 2nd round picks to grab some guys like Jordan Crawford and Mikhail Torrance.

    But then, I wouldn't be opposed to grabbing James Anderson or Avery Bradley and buying a 2nd rounder for Gani Lawal. The problem is, there's a huge dropoff after Evan Turner at SG, and I'm not sure any SG deserves to be picked as high as 17.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Doug, you have really missed the point here. We are talking about John Paxson and the Bulls. The team that craved a broken-down Scottie Pippen, an over-the-hill and disgruntled Ben Wallace, and octogenarian Lindsey Hunter cannot pass up the chance to get Joe Johnson at the max.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I think this is almost like a draft maybe a little better. I feel Joe Johnson struggled in both the Milwuakee/Orlando series because of the overmatched point guards. He definitely has a better chance with Rose. Will he be superstar material? Probably not...but he might be a good shooting guard for 4/5 years.
    Is there any reason he cannot perform at the same level as Ray Allen at 35 with better conditioning? He is already pretty good so it's not like we are envisioning somebody might be good. I kinda agree with Sam but definitely would be nervous about a 6 year deal but 5 years should be ok..

  • In reply to MrHappy:


    Majority rules...NO on Joe Johnson!!!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You guys keep throwing all of these names out here on who the Bulls should draft and most of you are way off on some of these guys. The Bulls need to add depth at the shooting guard position and that guard really needs to know how to get his own shot and finish at the basket...STRONG. These guards that I keep hearing, Pondexter,Henry, Anderson, Bradley, among some others I guarantee are not ready to contribute right away. These guys would probably be another James Johnson and ride the bench most of the year. From what I have seen and read about these guys... they just are not ready. Most of them would be jump shooters and that is it and we all know the Bulls do too much of that now. I have already said that the sleeper in this draft is Jordan Crawford. Yes he is a bit undersized at 6'4 but he has everything that the Bulls back court would love to have. He is someone that has a jumper,can create his own shot and can definitely get to the rim probably with some spectacular passes from D-Rose since he is more of a passer. If the Bulls don't draft him, it will be a huge mistake and everyone will wonder why the Bulls did not draft this kid who is ready to contribute now and doing very well on somebody else team.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Oh and one more thing... he is the same height as D-Wade and now that I think of it, his game is similar to D-Wade's game, very similar.

  • In reply to Everitt:

    I couldn't agree more BigEazy.

  • In reply to Everitt:

    I completely agree, seeing Joe Johnson get outplayed by Salmons at times in the Bucks vs Hawks series made me realize how overrated and that we don't really need him. I'd much rather not sign him at all due to the huge salary and that he's not that much of an upgrade over BG or John Salmons.

  • In reply to Everitt:

    Doug as usual you let your opinion, in this case borderline hatred get in the way of the facts.

    you say that at his peak no one has ever considered Joe Johnson a top 10 or even a top 15 player.

    Well even this past season, when Johnson did not play at his career peak Johnson was 3rd team All NBA.

    By definition that makes you, a top 15 player(3 times 5 equals?), and a top 6 guard(3 times 2 equals?).

    Furthermore, all NBA is not one mans opinion, but 130 men who cover the game for a living.

    While I would be greatly dissappointed if we had to settle for JOe Johnson, and would probably prefer to look at other options rather than paying him the max, Johnson is/has been a far better player than Gordon or Deng have ever been or ever will be.

    Not even you can argue with that, just look up his career stats and find even a single year that Gordon or Deng have equaled any of his normal seasons. Even if you took the career bests from both Deng and Gordon's career and combined them they don't come close to Johnsons normal season.

    And if you really think that Johnson and Gordon are on the same level defensively then you have really lost all credibility, you have reached Mr. Happy territory.

    And since your main defense of Deng(and to a lesser extent) is that contracts don't matter after the fact, then Johnson will deliver better numbers than Deng or Gordon so after we sign him his contract doesn't matter.

    The only thing that you are right about is that Johnson has nowhere to go but down, and will be overpaid, but then again so will every other free agent not named Lebron.

    I am not really that big of Joe Johnson fan, especially at max prices, but using Johnson as an argument to defend Gordon and Deng simply infuriates me. A multiple time All Star and All NBA performer vs 2 zeros.

  • In reply to Everitt:

    ADD: Chris Bosh or David Lee

    AVOID: Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer

    ATTEMPT: Dwyane Wade or LeBron James

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    To have posted that after/during the total stink bomb Johnson has put up in the playoffs indicates that Smith either has an axe to grind with the Bulls, or he pays absolutely no attention to the NBA. There is no other way to justify that post.

    Asides from his performance, the comments from Johnson have been terrible, too. Blowing off fans, saying how hard it is to beat Orlando before the series even began; not what you want to hear from a 'money' player.

    Johnson has 'New York Knicks' written all over him. For that, I'm glad!

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    Second coming of Allen Houston for the Knicks.....make it so!

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    I'd rather have Rudy Gay and David Lee, Joe Johnson already looks old and slow, imagine him in 5 years, Please Knicks jump on him, its the kind of player, your fans are used to.

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    Snypershawn, I agree Rudy Gay and Lee is the way to go I think. It would be nice if we could get them both at say 12mil/yr.

    What do you think about Rudy Gay, Doug?

  • The closer we get to this Free Agent period, the less I'm liking most of the players available.

    A lot of players are going to be vastly overpaid this summer (I think we all know that already). Only Wade and Lebron are worth the max. Paying the max or near the max for any of these other guys is going to be a bad thing.

    That being said, I'm guessing the Bulls max someone (other than Wade or Lebron). I'm also guessing it doesn't turn out well. I hope I'm wrong.

  • Joe Johnson = Rashard Lewis, $100 million guy who is not a star player.

  • In reply to tgrisham:

    Hmmm... Rashard Lewis and his contract or Joe Johnson on a max???

  • In reply to tgrisham:

    Yeah, Joe Johnson certainly didn't do his future bank account any favors against the Magic; still, I agree as a THIRD option behind Rose and (Bosh) I'd take him at $10 -$12 mill. I have had the opportunity to see him in person a couple of times and let's face it, a 6' 8" shooting guard who can fill it up like he can is definitely a asset. Perhaps he just isn't comfortable being "the man" in tough playoff situations, and he wouldn't have to be "the man" with the Bulls.

  • In reply to tgrisham:

    Smith is defintintely (more) crazy Doug :-)

    Joe Johnson is not the answer, he cant be the only player we get or we'll be 2nd round and out for 5 or 6 years. LeBron and Wade ofcourse and Bosh because of the fit...otherwise no max deals are worth it.

  • Ah, OK. It pretty clear that all of this 2010 free agency number crunching has turned my brain to mush.

  • I just sent the following to Sam Smith. He's going to reply that it makes sense if I replace Wade with Monta Ellis and Bosh with Udonis Haslem.
    Let's say Bosh wants to go play with Wade in South Beach (who wouldn't?).

  • It leaves a hole at SF, but that can be addressed next year with the MLE and the draft. No third team required (or hole at SF) if Toronto takes Hinrich instead of Deng, but I'd prefer jump on the chance to move Deng's contract and have the guard rotation set for five years. Taj's awesome value makes up for Deng's albatross.

  • If the Cavs get booted out, go for LeBron

  • One more thing that should worry people about Joe Johnson: Jamal Crawford is putting up pretty much the same per minute stats as he is as his backup. And Jamal Crawford has pretty much stunk everywhere else. So should we believe that Jamal has turned the corner, or that the Hawks game plan of going one-on-one (which failed abysmally during the playoffs, so it's not something we should look to replicate) benefits their SG.

    People talk about David Lee's stats being inflated and he wouldn't be able to reproduce them on another team in a different role. Funnily enough Joe Johnson rarely gets talked about like that, although I think it should be a huge concern (to add to all the other huge concerns about JJ).

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Good point!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Sam Smith is pretty freakin out there...i dont know what he is thinking most of the time. Really dont know why the Bulls hired him for their website either lol

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    i'd take Ray Allen over James Johnson.
    After this years playoffs i don't think there is anyone in the league not named James Johnson who seriously thinks that JJ is worth max deal.

  • I thought that Lewis was one of the most ridiculous contracts ever when he signed it.

    Johnson has been a better player than lewis to date, far better.

    So while I don't think that Johnson getting the max(which will still be less than Lewis's contract) will be as ridiculous as Lewis's signing was, I am certain that whoever signs Johnson to the max, especially a 6 year max will regret it in the back half of the contract.

    Orlando signed Lewis knowing that he was going to be the second or third fiddle on the team, they had that luxury.

    The Bulls don't have the luxury to use this years cap bonanza to sign a second or third fiddle guy. We need a bonafide #1, or at worst a 1A.

  • This is the closest that you have come to admiting that Johnson is a far superior player to both Ben Gordon and Luol Deng.

  • I think that Johnson has been a much better player than either of those guys.

  • absolutely agree that you would have to get rid of Deng to acquire Gay.

    I would take Gay at Deng's money in a heartbeat.

    Memphis being one of those places that no one really wants to play might be willing to take the certainty of Deng's contract in a sign and trade for Gay and the uncertainty of his contract.

    Not saying that this is the first move that I would make, but I would prefer Gay to Deng going forward, could be a case of familiarity breeding contempt, but I would give it a shot after the big guys are off the table, assuming of course that we can't get Kevin Love for Deng, which I've been told is ludicrous.

  • I am not sure if Sam Smith said that, but I have to admit that as I was reading Sam's column I did think that he was close to losing his mind.

    I sort of understand why he came up with his view, basically that we have no shot at anyone else, and we have this one window to use this money so we should get someone who apparently he thinks really wants to join the Bulls.

    To me that is just not a good enough reason to chase Johnson pay him the max while ignoring everyone else.

    I've been a Lebron or Bust guy all along, to me settling would be Wade, Bosh or Amare.

    Basically other than Lebron, we are more than one move away from championship contention.

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