The Joe Johnson trade has been held up because Steve Belkin, one of the Hawks' owners, refuses to approve it. The scuttlebutt on the radio this morning was that he doesn't think that Johnson is worth the money. Words fail me at this point to describe how dumb this move is by Belkin. Let's leave the issue of whether Johnson is worth the money aside for a moment. Why on earth do you allow Billy Knight to pursue Johnson, get Johnson to agree to contractual terms, and reach a deal with the Suns to ensure that they don't retain Johnson if you have reservations about whether he's worth the money? Now, you look like a jerk and Knight's credibility is damaged, which hurts the Hawks' ability to bring in future free agents that you would presumably find more worthy of your hard-earned dollars than Johnson.
Now, on the issue of whether Johnson is worth the money, Phoenix clearly thinks that he is, since they were willing to match any offer to him. Additionally, you have loads of cap room, so you can sign Johnson and still be paying less than just about every other team in the NBA. If you didn't want to pay for a payroll close to the salary cap, then what are you doing owning an NBA team?
Finally, this snafu has exposed a major problem with the Atlanta Spirit LLC's voting structure. Major decisions are supposed to be made on three-entity votes. If the Washington and Atlanta groups vote in favor of acquiring a player and the Boston group votes against, then the player should be acquired because a unanimous decision is not required. However, because Belkin has veto power by virtue of his spot on the NBA Board of Governors, the majority rules principle flies out the window and the team is paralyzed from making major additions without Belkin's approval. This is a bad set-up and it augurs poorly for both the Hawks and the Thrashers. The solution is that either Boston or Washington buys the other out and the teams would then at least have clear leadership from one entity. As it is now, you have a clusterfuck.