Hawks Announce Sign And Trade For Joe Johnson

HAWKS OBTAIN JOE JOHNSON FROM PHOENIX SUNS
All-Star caliber player comes to Atlanta
for Boris Diaw and two conditional first round picks

  • Joe Johnson Bio

    ATLANTA, GA (Aug. 19, 2005)-- Gaining the services of their most
    talented free agent acquisition since Dikembe Mutombo ('96), the Atlanta Hawks have obtained Joe
    Johnson from the Phoenix Suns for Boris Diaw and two conditional first round
    picks, it was announced today by Executive Vice President/General Manager Billy
    Knight.

    The high-flying Johnson, who begins his fifth NBA season in 2005-06, was one of
    the catalysts behind the resurgence of the Suns and their 62-20 record, which
    garnered the franchise's first Pacific Division title since 1994-95. The 33-game
    improvement ranks as the third-best in league history.

    "Joe has tremendous upside and provides our franchise with a player whose
    talents are worthy of All-Star consideration," said Knight. "He has the
    versatility to play several positions for Coach (Mike) Woodson. Not only is Joe
    extremely gifted on the offensive end, his size on defense will give us a
    tremendous advantage against most teams. When you team him up with a combination
    of Josh Childress, Josh Smith, Al Harrington, Marvin Williams, Salim Stoudamire
    and Zaza Pachulia, we feel we have one of the best up-and-coming rosters in the
    league.

    "I also want to express my appreciation to all who had a hand in getting Joe to
    Atlanta. The faith and confidence shown by our ownership group will never be
    forgotten, and the cooperation shown by Suns management, and Joe and his agent
    Arn Tellem spoke volumes to me. They have been unbelievable through this whole
    process and words can't explain how grateful we are to them for their character
    and integrity through it all, for all of them sticking to their word and backing
    us up all the way."

    "Billy Knight has done an extraordinary job of assembling a strong nucleus that
    features some of the youngest, most athletic and energetic players in the NBA,"
    said Hawks Co-Owner Michael Gearon. "This is an exciting day for the franchise
    and we are extremely proud to welcome Joe Johnson into our Hawks family."

    With career highs in points (17.1 ppg), rebounds (5.2 rpg) and three-point
    accuracy (a franchise record 47.8%), Johnson is a durable player who has
    appeared in 276 straight games (which currently trails only Toronto's Morris
    Peterson's streak of 279 games) and logged the most minutes played per game on
    Phoenix's squad last season (39.5 mpg). His versatility was evident when you
    consider that he was third on the team in scoring, second in assists behind NBA
    MVP Steve Nash (3.3 apg), and fourth in rebounds and steals (0.96 spg).

    "I am extremely excited to add a player of Joe's background to our team," said
    Hawks coach Woodson. "He is a great young talent in our league and when you
    couple him with the young talent we currently have on the roster, I can't wait
    to see them mesh as a unit. Joe has continually improved his game each and every
    season, and now he is poised to become one of the bright stars in the Eastern
    Conference. He is a very easy going person and Atlanta will soon learn how
    important it was for Billy and our management group to finalize this deal."

    An excellent shooter, Johnson connected on 46.1 percent of his attempts from the
    field and finished the season as only the fourth player in league history to
    make at least 150 three-pointers and shoot over 45 percent from behind the arc
    in the same campaign.

    Johnson tallied 20 points or more on 30 occasions last year, including a
    season-best 30 three times (at Seattle on March 6, at Memphis on February 1 and
    vs. Utah on December 15).

    During the 2004-05 Playoffs, he was briefly derailed by a fractured left orbital
    bone, which caused him to miss six of Phoenix's 15 postseason games against
    Dallas and San Antonio (four against the Mavericks and two vs. the Spurs).
    Despite that setback, Johnson raised his season averages by tallying 18.8 points
    on 50.4% shooting from the field - 56 percent from long distance.

    He was originally selected by the Boston Celtics with the 10th overall pick in
    the 2001 NBA Draft as an early entry candidate, but was traded in midseason to
    Phoenix (along with Milt Palacio, Randy Brown and a 2002 first-round draft pick
    (Casey Jacobsen) in exchange for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk).

    Johnson participated in the Rookie Challenge at the 2002 All-Star Weekend in
    Philadelphia and finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists as the
    Rookies scored a 103-97 win over the Sophomores. He was named NBA All-Rookie
    Second Team in 2002, the first Sun to garner that honor since Shawn Marion in
    1999-00.

    In his third NBA campaign, Johnson was third in balloting for the 2003-04 Most
    Improved Player Award after recording 16.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.1 spg in
    40-plus minutes. He was one of only 11 NBA players to average more than 16
    points, four rebounds and four assists, and eight of those players were 2004
    All-Stars (Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen, Vince Carter,
    Baron Davis, Paul Pierce and Steve Francis).

    A 2001 early entry candidate from the University of Arkansas, Johnson scored
    15.0 points and pulled down 6.1 rebounds in two years with the Razorbacks (.466
    FG%, .406 3FG%, .753 FT%) after attending Little Rock Central (Ark.) High
    School. He earned All-America honors as a sophomore and was named All-SEC in
    both seasons.

    Johnson, born June 29, 1981, is a native of Little Rock. He will wear #2 with
    the Hawks.