All the noise around here is centered on Joe Johnson’s possible departure from the team. Everywhere you read, people are either convinced that Joe will stay if offered a maximum salary contract, or convinced that he will land elswhere, part of some other team’s star player tandem. AJC Hawks beat writer Michael Cunningham thinks that despite all the interest from other teams, Joe stays if the “cash love” is right.
But is the issue only about what sort of contract he’s offered? What does it really take for Joe to be convinced that staying in Atlanta is the thing to do? I think one thing that General Manager Rick Sund must keep in mind, is that Joe is far from stupid. He knows what he wants, and what he will accept. He also knows he left the playoffs with perhaps less leverage than before. But he and his agent appear to be doing all the right things to sway the leverage solidly back into his favor.
So what does Joe want besides money? It may be a change in the locker room.