NBA Roundtable

2010: Joe Johnson

In Free Agency, General NBA on November 15, 2009 at 7:44 pm

The Hawks have 8 wins and 2 losses in their first 10 games with a margin of victory of eight points per game.

The Hawks early success in the regular season is a bad sign for any teams who were hoping to tempt Joe Johnson away from Atlanta next summer. The Hawks are looking like a 55+ win team right now and they still have enough youth/potential to improve further. It will be hard for teams to offer a better situation than the one Atlanta is offering.

Secondly, with Atlanta winning the Hawks front office will reluctant to let Joe leave. Questions over whether a player is max contract worthy, or how many years you want to commit to a player, those questions have a habit of dying down when teams are winning.

And let’s not forget that GM Rick Sund was the general manager who gave Ray Allen a maximum contract back in Seattle when several analysts openly questioned the idea of giving a player of Ray’s age that type of long money. Joe Johnson will be a year younger next offseason than Ray was when Ray got his deal.

Atlanta also holds Joe Johnson’s bird rights which gives them the option of outbidding any and all suitors by offering an extra year of guaranteed money.


The more successful Atlanta is this season the less likely Joe Johnson is to leave. Currently, they’re playing excellent basketball and look fair game to win 55+ games this season.

The success of the team will make the situation more appetizing for Joe Johnson + make it more difficult for the Hawks front office to decline paying JJ the money he’s going to ask for. Very few teams will be able to offer a better situation — in terms of winning — than the Hawks can next summer.

Teams that were hoping to pry JJ away next summer should start looking harder at their fallback options because it looks unlikely that Joe will leave Atlanta this summer.

  1. Quick thoughts on Johnson + an update from JJ’s recent answers on free agency

    So did you get many questions from reporters about your potential free agency after the season?

    “Yeah,” he said, smiling wearily.

    And what did you tell them?

    “I told them the truth: Who knows what’s going to happen in July?” he said, repeating the standard response he’s given to hacks who come through Atlanta and corner him on the subject.

    But doesn’t the fact you approached the Hawks about an extension last summer indicate you’d prefer to stay in Atlanta?

    “I’d love to,” he said, “but who knows what happens, man.”

    This comes a few weeks after Joe Johnson criticized the Hawks fans for not attending enough games + not getting behind their team despite the club’s terrific start to the season.

    Many in the media have made a big deal out of JJ’s criticisms and are making it out to be a reason for JJ to leave this summer — I think this is ludricrous. Johnson may leave the Hawks this summer but he won’t leave over the fans’ attendance. He will only look to leave if the Hawks don’t offer him enough money and someone else tops their offer.

    Joe Johnson is clearly very happy with his current team + the direction of the franchise. It’s going to take a Championship caliber team + equal or superior money to pry Johnson away from the Hawks.

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