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SI's Chris Mannix: Belkin Was Right

8/29/2005

Chris Mannix of SI.com writes about the ex-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Steve Belkin, who stirred up a Hornet's nest by balking at his team's trade of Boris Diaw and two first-round picks to Phoenix for Joe Johnson (who then got a $70 million contract). Mannix echoes what a lot of basketball people have said: Belkin was right. That's too much to give up for Johnson.

Belkin was right to question the merits of this trade. Johnson is a nice complementary player, but is he a building block for a young franchise loaded with players who play his position? Johnson the point guard? We saw how well that worked out for Larry Hughes in Philadelphia.

There's a weird thing going on with this article. Mannix seems to have a lot of inside information, the likes of which could probably have only come from talking to Belkin. But Mannix doesn't quote Belkin directly. I'm not sure what that's about.

Mannix also reports something a bit ironic: the price that Belkin will get from his former co-owners for his 30% stake will be determined by an independent appraiser by the end of the year. If Belkin is right, that the team overpaid for guard Joe Johnson, then that ought to be fairly clear in the next few months. If the team continues to stink, and it's clear that Johnson was not the solution, then the value of the whole Hawks franchise will undoubtedly be reduced. Which means when the appraisal is done, Belkin will presumably get less money for his stake.