Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford React to Hawks' Trade With Wizards
PHOENIX -- The five-player trade between the Hawks and the Wizards had been in the works throughout the latter part Wednesday afternoon, and was finalized sometime shortly before the Hawks were set to tip-off in Phoenix against the Suns. Atlanta came back from 14 points down in the third quarter to tie it in the fourth, before eventually falling by a final of 105-97.
For the players in the Hawks locker room afterward, it wasn't about Wednesday's game. It was about realizing that guys they had formed a bond with were suddenly now gone. And even a few hours later, Atlanta's key players were still having a hard time dealing with the sudden shake-up.
"I was a little shocked," Jamal Crawford said. "I knew something could possibly happen but ... you know, those guys, they're like family. You spend so much time with them over the course of the year. Mo, Mike, and Jordan, they're like family. I wish them nothing but the best."
Josh Smith similarly talked about how his now former teammates will be missed.
"All three of those guys had become brothers to us," Smith said. "We're kind of sad, we are sad that they're leaving. We wanted to win this game, we knew that Bibby asked for all the tickets before we came. Unfortunately we made the trade before he was able to play in front of his home crowd. I wish those guys good luck."
Joe Johnson spoke slowly when asked about the trade, and paused frequently to try to find the right words to articulate what he was feeling.
"I guess we'll kind of have to wait and see what happens," Johnson said. "Anytime a trade goes down ... I don't know really what to say. We let three guys, three good guys go who I've become really good friends with. But at the same time, we understand the business aspect of this profession that we chose, knowing that trades happen. Sometimes, some of your teammates have to go opposite ways and you have to deal with it."
Jamal Crawford was initially thought to be heading out of town in the deal, before it was clarified that it was Jordan Crawford who was the one involved in the trade. But thanks to a pregame nap, Jamal was able to skip the panic attack.
"Nah, I missed all that through my nap, honestly," Crawford said. "There was an ESPN game on and I heard pregame they were debating if it was me or not, or whatever. But I missed all that. By the time I heard, it was Jordan."
Crawford was non-committal when asked if this was positive move for the Hawks, but his teammates seemed to be a little more bullish.
"It's tough to tell now," Crawford said. "Mike's been the leader at point guard for a while; Jordan's going to be a terrific player, and Mo is just solid. He gives you defense and three-point shooting. But I've played with Kirk Hinrich before, and I know what he's about."
Joe Johnson, while making it clear that he was going to miss the guys who were leaving, also made it clear that he thought this was a deal that would help in the long run.
"Getting Kirk and Armstrong, I definitely think they're going to help and contribute to what we're trying to do," Johnson said. "I think Kirk is very defensive-minded, and a guy who can really knock down the open shot, and penetrate and make plays for others as well.
"I think it's going to be beneficial to us, and we've just somehow got to get back on the right track."
Overall, Atlanta's stars -- while still adjusting to the shock of it all -- seem to be adjusting well, and seem to be ready to embrace their new teammates. Smith may have summed it up the best.
"We got Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong, and that's the future for right now," Smith said. "We've just got to focus on that."