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  #1  
Old 08-09-05, 01:46 PM
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Belkin wins injunction over Hawks Ownership

Joe Johnson is still in limbo as Steve Belkin wins his injunction and cannot be removed from the organization's ownership.
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  #2  
Old 08-09-05, 01:50 PM
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Hawks ownership at odds over Joe Johnson trade

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2129751

BOSTON -- A judge here stepped into the feud between owners of the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, blocking the other members of the ownership group from removing Boston businessman Steve Belkin as managing partner.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Allan van Gestel granted Belkin's request for a temporary injunction, saying a contract signed by all the owners last year prevents the group from voting him out.

It was unclear whether the other owners would scrap plans for a Tuesday vote to replace Belkin, who owns 30 percent of the franchise, with co-owner Michael Gearon Jr.

Belkin is part of the nine-member Atlanta Spirit LLC group, which also owns the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and the operating rights to Philips Arena.

The dispute stems from Belkin's refusal to approve a sign-and-trade deal for the Hawks to acquire guard Joe Johnson from the Phoenix Suns. As the team's NBA governor, Belkin must sign off on all trades.

The ruling, which extends indefinitely a temporary restraining order obtained by Belkin last week, can be appealed to a higher court. The judge said Belkin's refusal to sign on to the Johnson deal was not grounds for his removal under the contract.

"It is hardly apparent on the present record that the deal for Johnson, however talented he may be ... is in the economic best interest of the franchise," the judge wrote. "Sometimes the cost is just too great."

The five-year contract the Hawks offered Johnson -- worth about $70 million, including $20 million for the first year -- would have made him the team's highest-paid player. Atlanta would also give Phoenix two first-round picks, second-year guard Boris Diaw and a $4.9 million trade exception.

"Steve Belkin simply thinks that's too much to pay for Joe Johnson," Belkin's lawyer, John Fabiano, told the judge.

The feud between the owners has overshadowed attempts in the offseason to improve the team with the fewest wins in the NBA last season.

Attorney James W. Quinn, who represents the other owners, compared the Joe Johnson deal to the Celtics' acquisition of Hall of Famer Larry Bird, which led to three NBA titles for Boston in the 1980s.

"This transaction -- the Joe Johnson transaction -- is one that is critical to the future of the Atlanta Hawks," he said.

Johnson, a five-year veteran who has played for Boston and Phoenix, averaged 17.1 points per game for the Suns last season.

The team's vice president for basketball, former NBA star Dominique Wilkins, said after the hearing that he found it "unbelievable" that Belkin would try to block the trade.

"As a basketball player, we know this game, and this deal makes sense to us, plain and simple," he said.

General Manager Billy Knight also attended Tuesday's hearing. When Belkin approached him in court, Knight refused to shake his hand.

"This is what everybody wants -- what our city wants, what our franchise wants, what our fans want," Wilkins said. "I think it's what our fans have been waiting for."

The team's Washington-based owners, including Bruce Levenson and Ed Peskowitz, own 40 percent of the Hawks, while Atlanta-based owners, including Gearon and Rutherford Seydel, own 30 percent

Last edited by SPUROFTHAMOMENT; 08-09-05 at 01:56 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-09-05, 01:50 PM
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This is good stuff.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SPUROFTHAMOMENT
Attorney James W. Quinn, who represents the other owners, compared the Joe Johnson deal to the Celtics' acquisition of Hall of Famer Larry Bird, which led to three NBA titles for Boston in the 1980s.


BWAhahahahahahahahahahahahahhhahahahahhaaahah!!!

Oh, that is RICH!

Last edited by ProjectGSX; 08-09-05 at 01:53 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-09-05, 02:05 PM
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At first didn't Belkin state that the main reason he didn't want to sign off on the trade was not the money that was offered but the 2 first round picks being dealt away were more the issue?
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Old 08-09-05, 02:08 PM
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Actually the judge doesn't even need to analyse the economic reasons behind the trade to make a ruling. Simply put, there's no ground for those minority owners to remove the majority owner from the group. I mean, those owners together don't even own the more than 25% of the company while Belkin alone owns 30%.
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Old 08-09-05, 02:10 PM
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Okay......the other owner's lawyer just compared Joe Johnson to Larry Bird?!? I am officially taking Belkins side now.

Belkin was appointed Governor to have a final say on all trades, and by association, protect the Hawks salary cap and future flexibility and best interests.

The ownership group gave him that responsibility.
He's doing his job.
The other owners just don't like the answer he's giving.
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  #7  
Old 08-09-05, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by To be named later
Okay......the other owner's lawyer just compared Joe Johnson to Larry Bird?!? I am officially taking Belkins side now.
Yeah, that's funny!
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  #8  
Old 08-09-05, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinson50
Actually the judge doesn't even need to analyse the economic reasons behind the trade to make a ruling. Simply put, there's no ground for those minority owners to remove the majority owner from the group. I mean, those owners together don't even own the more than 25% of the company while Belkin alone owns 30%.
And, the group signed a contract stating he could not be voted out.
It wouldn't matter if Belkin only owned 1%. Contractually.....they cannot vote him out, simply because he doesn't agree with them.
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  #9  
Old 08-09-05, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Attorney James W. Quinn, who represents the other owners, compared the Joe Johnson deal to the Celtics' acquisition of Hall of Famer Larry Bird, which led to three NBA titles for Boston in the 1980s.

"This transaction -- the Joe Johnson transaction -- is one that is critical to the future of the Atlanta Hawks," he said.
The fourth option on a Suns team that got knocked out in 5 games vs the Champs is being compared to Bird!


Quote:
The five-year contract the Hawks offered Johnson -- worth about $70 million, including $20 million for the first year -- would have made him the team's highest-paid player. Atlanta would also give Phoenix two first-round picks, second-year guard Boris Diaw and a $4.9 million trade exception.
First off thats too much money for JJ, but they need to overpay because nobody wants to play there, so I can understand that. But to add Diaw, 2 FIRST round picks, and a 5 million trade exception is giving up way too much for what they are getting. They should offer him the contract, and see if the Suns match or not, which they probably won't.

If the trade goes down it will benifit the Suns much more then the Hawks, they could get up to 5 solid players for JJ! Diaw, two first round picks, and two players signed with the 5 million exception.
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Old 08-09-05, 02:24 PM
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Whoa!
If I was Atlanta's GM,
Even I wouldn't do this trade!

Sincerely,
Isaiah Thomas
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  #11  
Old 08-09-05, 02:24 PM
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Man, this is hilarious.......
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Old 08-09-05, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinson50
Actually the judge doesn't even need to analyse the economic reasons behind the trade to make a ruling. Simply put, there's no ground for those minority owners to remove the majority owner from the group. I mean, those owners together don't even own the more than 25% of the company while Belkin alone owns 30%.
You are wrong. All of the other owners besides Belkin are trying to remove him. Together, they own 70% of the team. If Belkin winds up scuttling this deal, the other owners should demand that Belkin immediately purchase their shares of the team.

The Clippers have been replaced as the "gold puddle in the john" standard in the NBA.
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Old 08-09-05, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAsucksForever
You are wrong. All of the other owners besides Belkin are trying to remove him. Together, they own 70% of the team. If Belkin winds up scuttling this deal, the other owners should demand that Belkin immediately purchase their shares of the team.
That is nonsense.

In this matter, there is nothing contractually or legally that states Belkin has to buy out the other owners.

There is however, something contractual and legally binding stating the other owners cannot remove Belkin as Governor.
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  #14  
Old 08-09-05, 02:38 PM
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Its funny how only Belkin understands that the Hawks are being robbed. They should just present the offer sheet to Johnson and keep their first round picks. If the Suns match then it was not meant to be for the Hawks they will have another chance in years to come to find another franchise player. There are and will be many better than Joe Johnson.
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Old 08-09-05, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by To be named later
That is nonsense.

In this matter, there is nothing contractually or legally that states Belkin has to buy out the other owners.

There is however, something contractual and legally binding stating the other owners cannot remove Belkin as Governor.
If you're a partner in a business and the managing partner of that business is making decisions that devastate the profitability and value of the business (read: scuttling trades for marquee players that every other partner and every staffer in the organization supports), you have every right to go to that managing partner and tell him to buy you out. If he fails to do so and you can establish a financial impact to those decisions, you would have the basis to sue for damages on the basis of malfeasance of duties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doozie
Its funny how only Belkin understands that the Hawks are being robbed. They should just present the offer sheet to Johnson and keep their first round picks. If the Suns match then it was not meant to be for the Hawks they will have another chance in years to come to find another franchise player. There are and will be many better than Joe Johnson.
When your organization is such a joke that nobody else of any skill wants to take your money, you need to pay that price. If they don't get Joe Johnson in the fold, they'll be lucky to break single digits on wins and total season-ticket sales next year. With him, at least they take the first step on the long road back to credibility.
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  #16  
Old 08-09-05, 03:13 PM
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This has nothing to do with the deal. Belkin doesn't want to lose those picks because they're cheap players in the future.

He's the Donald Sterling of the South.
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  #17  
Old 08-09-05, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrHonline
This has nothing to do with the deal. Belkin doesn't want to lose those picks because they're cheap players in the future.

He's the Donald Sterling of the South.
That is fairly accurate from I am told. For Belkin it's about the $.
And some call Holt cheap.

The FO might as well move on since no one (GM, agent or player) could make too many deals with Atlanta without wondering if Belkin will shoot them down.

The franchise might as well just fold or seek admission as a NBDL team.
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  #18  
Old 08-09-05, 03:30 PM
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I think the NBA (Stern) will have to step up and do something. I'm not just talking about this situation, but the Hawks in general. It's the franchise everyone has been laughing at for the past few years. I wonder if they're making money at all in Atlanta these days?
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Old 08-09-05, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Belkin believes the Hawks' trades, signings and other matters are ultimately his call, because NBA rules require him, as the governor, to endorse them before they can be consummated. Belkin said that well before the proposed deal --- Boris Diaw and two future first-round picks for Johnson --- was agreed upon with Phoenix, he told his partners and other team officials that he would not approve it because the Hawks would be giving up too much.

"I have consistently supported signing Joe Johnson [as a restricted free agent] and approved the contract terms proposed by [general manager] Billy Knight as in the best interests of the Hawks," Belkin said Friday.

"However, I made it clear to my co-owners and others involved in our organization last week --- prior to, as well as during, the first ownership discussion of a possible sign-and-trade --- that, as NBA governor, I did not approve of the sign-and-trade proposals for Joe Johnson that some suggested we make or accept. It's unfortunate that the terms of these unauthorized proposals have been disclosed publicly."

http://www.ajc.com/saturday/content/...650dd0047.html Sat Aug 6, 2005
Didn't sound like the contract was an issue to me.

Quote:
"What they're saying doesn't make any sense, because any contract that [Hawks general manager] Billy Knight has brought to the board, I have approved, including the Joe Johnson contract," Belkin said. "What I'm disapproving of is giving away our valuable assets of two first-round draft picks [in the proposed trade]. It's not about spending money; it's about giving away assets.".....



Said Gearon Sr.: "You can authorize whatever when you're fairly certain the other team [will match]."

"I think there's a very good possibility Phoenix would not match," Belkin said.

A trade with Phoenix is the only way to be assured of getting Johnson, but Belkin said Saturday he still thinks the Hawks should make the contract offer and test whether the Suns will match. He said his partners are unwilling to go that route. They say that's because they believe Phoenix would match, leaving the Hawks without the player they covet --- and without the fat contract.....


Gearon Sr. rejected Belkin's contention that two first-round picks are too valuable to give up in the deal. "We've had, I'd estimate, 33 first-round draft picks since 1972," he said, "and not one of them has evolved into a player the quality of Joe Johnson.





http://www.ajc.com/sunday/content/ep...e60ad00c1.html Sun Aug 7, 2005
Looks like trading those picks either really is his main concern and he's gonna be a great politican.

Last edited by SPUROFTHAMOMENT; 08-09-05 at 04:06 PM.
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  #20  
Old 08-09-05, 03:49 PM
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Billy Knight has been quoted as saying that as long as Belkin is involved he will not make any transactions...so it's either Knight or Belkin.
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  #21  
Old 08-09-05, 03:53 PM
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First round picks are always good to keep?

Signed,
Gregg Popovich

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected]
Billy Knight has been quoted as saying that as long as Belkin is involved he will not make any transactions...so it's either Knight or Belkin.

Well, from what I hear the JJ to Atlanta deal is off as far as the Suns are concerned.
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  #22  
Old 08-09-05, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
First round picks are always good to keep?

Signed,
Gregg Popovich




Well, from what I hear the JJ to Atlanta deal is off as far as the Suns are concerned.

So does that mean they are gonna be in the Luxury Tax threshold status? What do you think they will do with the Amare extension situation if JJ returns under that $70 million contract?
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  #23  
Old 08-09-05, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPUROFTHAMOMENT
So does that mean they are gonna be in the Luxury Tax threshold status? What do you think they will do with the Amare extension situation if JJ returns under that $70 million contract?

They're trade Marion between now and the start of the 2006-2007 season when Amare's new salary will kick in.
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  #24  
Old 08-09-05, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPUROFTHAMOMENT
So does that mean they are gonna be in the Luxury Tax threshold status? What do you think they will do with the Amare extension situation if JJ returns under that $70 million contract?
The Hawks would still have to issue an offer sheet to Johnson for the Suns to pay the $70 mil. If they dont then it places Johnson back out in the market where teams will probably not waste their time and the Suns will sign him for a less expensive offer.
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  #25  
Old 08-09-05, 04:05 PM
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Why does the judge talk like he's Chad Ford?
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  #26  
Old 08-09-05, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
They're trade Marion between now and the start of the 2006-2007 season when Amare's new salary will kick in.
The suns need a center, right?
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Old 08-09-05, 04:14 PM
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^^^^^ nice try.
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  #28  
Old 08-09-05, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MATIAS
The suns need a center, right?
And we need a SF!
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  #29  
Old 08-09-05, 04:24 PM
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wonder whats going to happen to this mess
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Old 08-09-05, 04:27 PM
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At Marion's salary it would take TWO rashos to make such a deal.

Or rather it would take Rasho AND Nazr to make such a deal.
But hey, Oberto plays center, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KobeToDuncan
wonder whats going to happen to this mess
well, JJ won't be going to Atlanta now.

and atlanta won't get crap this off-season since now Knight is fighting with Belkin and the fact that other GMs and agents will wonder if they should be negotiating with Belkin instead since Knight can't seem to make deals on his own.

that franchise is now in a total and utter mess.
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  #31  
Old 08-09-05, 04:30 PM
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since this might not go through...doesnt jj still have the option of signing hawks offer and see if suns will match
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  #32  
Old 08-09-05, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KobeToDuncan
since this might not go through...doesnt jj still have the option of signing hawks offer and see if suns will match
yeah, and from what I am hearing coming out of Phoenix they will match.
Especially now. They almost have to save face.
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  #33  
Old 08-09-05, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alamo Girl
Why does the judge talk like he's Chad Ford?


Well I for one am glad about the injunction. The deal was terrible for Atlanta and I hate seeing any team spiraling out of control... it's just sad.
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  #34  
Old 08-09-05, 04:34 PM
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every team should be lucky enough to draft a tim duncan or be lucky enough to draft a david robinson. (and save their team from moving) or you can do what the hawks have done and be unlucky... or draft just badly enough to make people scratch their heads.

belkin is making a crappy team and a shaky f.o. look worse. the only thing he's trying to save is what serves his best interest, and its backfiring badly. even with jj, they'd have enough money and players to make good moves down the line... even a protected lottery pick or two.

the hawks are just a mess period... the growing fan excitement over signing a good f.a. is dead. the next court action we see should be from season ticket holders. (are there any?)
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Old 08-09-05, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBear


Well I for one am glad about the injunction. The deal was terrible for Atlanta and I hate seeing any team spiraling out of control... it's just sad.

They already were spiraling out of control.
That thud you heard earlier was the franchise finally hitting bottom.
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  #36  
Old 08-09-05, 04:35 PM
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That is too bad because no NBA team should be this bad... seriously!
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  #37  
Old 08-09-05, 04:44 PM
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Belkins is doing his job, HELL!! I wouldn't make the trade myself.

Why wouldn't JJ tell them that he will sign an offer sheet, Suns WON"T

match. JJ needs to consider that if he is going to be the guy they build

around the least he could do is allow them the opportunity to surround

him with decent talent. I've heard alot of players on loosing teams say

that they would do anything to get out of that type of situation. Yes,

at first everything is Fine & Dandy until the newness wears off and they

realize they NEED help. ala KOBE

Way, da go Belkins, POP would never make such a trade, if he were in

your shoes. I like this guy, He's got BIG CAHONES!!!!

Last edited by stuffedmushroomz; 08-09-05 at 04:48 PM.
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  #38  
Old 08-09-05, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffedmushroomz
Belkins is doing his job, HELL!! I wouldn't make the trade myself.
Why wouldn't JJ tell them that he will sign an offer sheet, Suns WON"T
match. JJ needs to consider that if he is going to be the guy they build
around the least he could do is allow them the opportunity to surround
him with decent talent. I've heard alot of players on loosing teams say
that they would do anything to get out of that type of situation. Yes,
at first everything is Fine & Dandy until the newness wears off and they
realize they NEED help.
Way, da go Belkins, POP would never make such a trade, if he were in
your shoes. I like this guy, He's got BIG CAHONES!!!!
Then he handled it wrong.
Hell, we all here knew what the hawks offer was going to be way before the signing date.
Belkin should have handled this early with a simple phone call to Knight on what he wouldn't give up in a trade for JJ.
He's in charge, he can do what he wants and what he feels is in the best interest but by the way this has been handled, the franchise is now worse off and is in total disarray.
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Old 08-09-05, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
The he handled it wrong.
Hell, we all here knew what the hawks offer was going to be way before the signing date.
Belkin should have handled this early with a simple phone clal to Knight on what he wouldn't give up in a trade for JJ.
He's in charge, he can do what he wants and what he feels is in the best interest but by the way this has been handled, the franchise is now worse off and is in total disarray.
Billy Knight presumably negotiated the sign-and-trade deal. Shouldn't he have checked with Belkin b4 agreeing on it? After all, Belkin is the governor, right?

If Knight did check with Belkin, then this would be an about-turn by Belkin.

If Knight didn't check with Belkin, then he was trying to force the deal through Belkin. So if Belkin accepts the deal belatedly, he loses control of the governorship anyway since his subordinate forced the deal through. If he fights it, he looks like a jackazz because the deal is already out there. Belkin is in a no-win situation.
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Old 08-09-05, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnwhuxley
Billy Knight presumably negotiated the sign-and-trade deal. Shouldn't he have checked with Belkin b4 agreeing on it? After all, Belkin is the governor, right?

If Knight did check with Belkin, then this would be an about-turn by Belkin.

If Knight didn't check with Belkin, then he was trying to force the deal through Belkin. So if Belkin accepts the deal belatedly, he loses control of the governorship anyway since his subordinate forced the deal through. If he fights it, he looks like a jackazz because the deal is already out there. Belkin is in a no-win situation.
That is why I bring up how we knew on the internet what the deal was going to be for before the sh1T hit the fan. Maybe Belkin doesn't use the internet or read Atlanta papers up in Boston. Otherwise, once you read that rumor, don't you make a call to your GM to ask if it's true and if it's true try to negotiate something better?

Which ever one screwed up, just put the Hawks franchise in an even bigger mess than they previous were at during the past 2-4 seasons.
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  #41  
Old 08-09-05, 05:27 PM
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If I were the Suns I wouldnt want JJ back after he said he didnt want to stay there...was then traded in a deal that wont be going though...and he is just going to return to Pho with everything rosy?

The Suns would be stupid to Match the offer if JJ signs a sheet with the Hawks
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  #42  
Old 08-09-05, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizzG
The Suns would be stupid to Match the offer if JJ signs a sheet with the Hawks
actually, they would look bad and worse if they don't after what just occurred with Atlanta.

I can see them fixing a relationship with JJ. One way is to indicate to JJ that they will make every effort to trade him before the start of the 2006-2007 campaign.
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Old 08-09-05, 05:41 PM
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I can see them fixing a relationship with JJ
possibly..but its a bad situation. I dont think he is worth matching for that amount of $$ and has said he would rather leave and not be the 3rd wheel on a team. Could be a potential chemistry problem
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Old 08-09-05, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizzG
possibly..but its a bad situation. I dont think he is worth matching for that amount of $$ and has said he would rather leave and not be the 3rd wheel on a team. Could be a potential chemistry problem

well, that's the word out of Phoenix this afternoon.
They'll match and then attempt to move either JJ or Marion by next summer.
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Old 08-09-05, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
That is why I bring up how we knew on the internet what the deal was going to be for before the sh1T hit the fan. Maybe Belkin doesn't use the internet or read Atlanta papers up in Boston. Otherwise, once you read that rumor, don't you make a call to your GM to ask if it's true and if it's true try to negotiate something better?
I think you miss the point. It is not that Belkin didn't know about the deal. It is that Billy Knight was going to do the deal whether or not Belkin agrees with it. If I was Knight, I'd put out the stuff on the Internet as quickly as possible, and dare Belkin to embarass the organization by refusing the trade after I have agreed to it, and the other owners are on my side.
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  #46  
Old 08-09-05, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
That is why I bring up how we knew on the internet what the deal was going to be for before the sh1T hit the fan. Maybe Belkin doesn't use the internet or read Atlanta papers up in Boston. Otherwise, once you read that rumor, don't you make a call to your GM to ask if it's true and if it's true try to negotiate something better?

Which ever one screwed up, just put the Hawks franchise in an even bigger mess than they previous were at during the past 2-4 seasons.
I'm sure they had plenty of talks about it until Belkins felt that going public

was his only alternative,to save face. If Belkins didn't go public about how bad this deal is

and the Team doesn't do well Hawks, fans would be calling for his head, no doubt.

And in the end he would be the one who would suffer the consequeces even if he

wasn't in agreement about the move in the first place.
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  #47  
Old 08-09-05, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
well, that's the word out of Phoenix this afternoon.
They'll match and then attempt to move either JJ or Marion by next summer.
A team would be crazy to take Marion with that contract but stranger things have happened. It will be easier getting rid of JJs contract but still not a contract that many teams want to accept unless dumping a worse contract. This is not a good situation for the Suns.
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  #48  
Old 08-09-05, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doozie
A team would be crazy to take Marion with that contract but stranger things have happened. It will be easier getting rid of JJs contract but still not a contract that many teams want to accept unless dumping a worse contract. This is not a good situation for the Suns.

There will be takers for Marion.
For a similiar yearly deal, what did the Raptors get for Vince Carter?
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  #49  
Old 08-09-05, 06:10 PM
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"All of us on the inside understand (Belkin's position) is a ploy," Hawks General Manager Billy Knight told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It has nothing to do with the trade itself. It has nothing to do with the terms of the trade. He has told me a number of times, in meetings and in private, that he would like to keep the payroll at the bare minimum - not sign free agents.

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/suns...9suns0809.html
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  #50  
Old 08-09-05, 07:19 PM
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^^^Knight never talks to the press like that, so you know he's pissed.

And just in case any brings it up, JJ's salary brings the Hawks to the league minimum. Belkin agreeing to bring in JJ doesn't affect his "cheapness."
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