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Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

Posted on: July 4, 2010 1:55 am
Edited on: July 4, 2010 4:11 pm
Update: In his blog on Huffington Post, agent Arm Tellem confirms that Joe Johnson has agreed to six-year, $120 million deal to remain with the Atlanta Hawks. reported earlier that Johnson and Atlanta were "close" to finalizing their agreement.

The Hawks came right out of the gates at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and lavished Johnson, the cornerstone of their revival, with the maximum offer they could extend him under the current collective bargaining agreement. Johnson, 28, was determined to explore the options free agency afforded him, and met within an hour with Knicks officials in Los Angeles. The meeting was attended by Johnson's L.A.-based agent, Arn Tellem, and another one of his clients, Mike Miller.

One day passed. Then two. Then three. Hawks officials were not so much growing nervous as flummoxed that Johnson was taking so long to say yes to a contract the likes of which no player of his caliber will see again anytime soon in the NBA. The league's salary structure is one year away from changing dramatically -- and in favor of the owners -- in a new collective bargaining agreement.

On Friday, a person with close ties to Johnson told that the four-time All-Star was "intrigued" by the opportunity to play in New York or Chicago. In both places, he'd have to be intrigued enough to accept about $25 million less than the Hawks were offering. In both places, he'd either be a complementary piece to one of the top-tier free agents or a substitute -- similar to the situation the Suns' Amar'e Stoudemire was in, except the Suns never offered Stoudemire the max for six years.

As of Saturday afternoon, Johnson was still on the fence as the Knicks, in particular, continued to apply pressure in an all-out effort to persuade Johnson to validate their painful, two-year effort to clear enough salary-cap space to attract marquee free agents. But by later in the evening, word came from Johnson's camp that minor contractual details were on the verge of being resolved in order to keep Johnson with the Hawks -- who would've likely waited until after the new CBA was in place to replace him with a comparable talent. Johnson has averaged at least 17 points per game in all five seasons with the Hawks while playing at least 76 games in four of those seasons.

If Johnson's flirtation with the free-agent recruiting process mirrors that of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his spasm of wanderlust getting trumped by the far more favorable deal his own team could offer him may be a harbinger of decisions to come. Barring sign-and-trades, by which free agents can change teams and still get max money, the Big Three are in the same boat. Being wanted is great, but money ... everybody likes money.

Speaking of which, Johnson will turn 34 entering the sixth year of this contract, when he'll be making approximately $24 million in his 16th NBA season. But the Hawks felt the potential payoff in the first three years of the deal -- and the risk of losing Johnson without being able to find a comparable replacement -- made the commitment worthwhile. Also, the Hawks are banking on the fact that there will always be a high-revenue team willing to take on a big contract, either as the final piece to a championship-ready team or in the form of an expiring asset.


Since: Jul 4, 2010
Posted on: July 6, 2010 3:03 am

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

They didn't have much choice. They couldn't let their best player slip away, but they still overpaid and they are still missing a player capable of getting them over the hump. They'll win 50+ games next year and will be sitting at home watching the finals next June unless they can pull off a trade or two.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: July 5, 2010 9:39 pm

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

the more time that goes by, the less stupid this signing appears....  good to finally hear from some that realize the hawks really didn't have a choice this year....

Since: Dec 30, 2009
Posted on: July 5, 2010 5:58 pm

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

I dunno...the fact that the Hawks have been consistently competitive for the past several years and even gave the Celtics fits the year that they won the title must have escaped the memories of many.  I'm not saying that JJ was worth the $120 million, but the real question is whether it was worth letting him go without any viable alternatives?  The Hawks are missing a piece or two from getting to the top, and the loss of JJ would have probably taken them out of playoff contention and been a huge step backward.  It was a tough decision, but from a basketball standpoint, you do what you need to do to keep your team together if it's good, and the Hawks aren't a bad team.

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: July 5, 2010 2:05 pm

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

I think that Joe Johnson is a good quality basketball player with great scoring ability. However, for him to command that big of a contract, he must step his game up and live up to it. He has been noted as being underrated for quite some time, now he needs to push through and show people that he can be a top 10-15  player in the league. Any excuses of him not playing up to his potential are null and void at this point. He needs to take a cue from Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James develop an alpha dog mindset and lead his team with some fire and tenacity. Time to move to another level in your career JJ. Let's hope this a start in that direction!


Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: July 5, 2010 11:57 am

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

Johnson will play decently for a couple years and then will be one of those highly sought after "expiring deals" in a 4 or 5 years.  I am suprised he didn't jump on this right away.  Luckily for him, the ATL management must have no idea what they are doing, offering this kinda deal to a good, but not anywhere near max deal player.  Add in the fact that he will end this deal in his late 30's and this seems like an albatross deal that will haunt ATL for a decade (6 years for the deal, a couple to rebuild after it).

Since: Jun 29, 2010
Posted on: July 5, 2010 11:11 am

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

the hawks organization are morons.  I'm one of the few loyal season ticket holders - but not anymore.  I can't stand watching that slow, ball hogging johnson mess the team up.  I'm done with the hawks.

Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: July 5, 2010 5:45 am

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

I disagree that this a stupid deal for the Hawks. I mean it goes without saying that he is not in the same class as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, or Chris Bosh, but who is scrammbling to join the Hawks? Nobody. No notable free agents met with the Hawks so they made a business move and saved themselves revenue and re-signed their best player.

The Atlanta Hawks were actually a respectable team this past year and made the playoffs which is very good for that organization. If they don't re-sign Joe Johnson it's back to the Lottery for them because they cannot compete without Johnson on their squad. Does Johnson deserve this kind of money compared to other free agents? No. Is he worthy of this kind of money as far as the Hawks are concerned? Yes.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: July 5, 2010 4:37 am

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

wow. can we say "overrated"?

Since: Jul 4, 2010
Posted on: July 5, 2010 3:53 am

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

Joe Johnson is lucky. He is a good player, but nowhere near worth $20mill a year. It doesn't matter though because unless the Hawks make another major move this off season, it will be more of the same next season. They'll be a 3 or 4 seed in the East and then lay an egg in the playoffs. Same goes for Dallas too.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2010 11:15 pm

Johnson, Hawks reach six year, $120 million deal

I agree that he is not worth this money.  I am also glad my Knicks did not get him because he struggles in the playoffs.  He was awful against the Magic the last two years and the Bucks this year.  He can score and has been one of the most consistent scorers ever since the Marbury trade in Phoenix, but he is not worth this money and will be 35 at the end of this contract.  Allan Houston was given a huge contract like this at around 30 years old, and his knees broke down and we were stuck paying for his enormous contract after he was forced to retire.  I also don't think Dirk is worth as much as he was signed for.  He is 32 years old and has a very soft reputation.  He plays absolutely no defense and disappears in big games.  Check the Spurs this year and the 06 Finals against Miami and when the Warriors beat them.  A 7-footer should not spend that much time on the perimeter, even if he is a good shooter.  But he is way more valuable to the Mavs than Johnson to the Hawks.  Without Dirk, the Mavs at best are a 7th or 8th seed, and possibly a lotto team in the strong Western conference.  Pierce is also way more valuable to his team than Johnson.  He is their emotional leader.  But he is starting to get up there in age as well.  I think Johnson is a solid player, but his lack of defense and lack of playoff success turn me off as a Knicks fan.  He is not in the category of a Lebron, Wade, Bosh, or even Amare.  He should not have been given a max contract.  Thank you Hawks because you saved my Knicks a $100 million mistake.  If we can't get the King, let's hope Carmelo falls into our hands next year.

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