HAWKSVILLE - Might the Hawks be interested in keeping captain and All-Star Joe Johnson off of the robust free agent market of 2010?
It seems so.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Hawks general manager Rick Sund is on an extended trip to the left coast, and part of his itinerary includes time in Los Angeles for face-to-face talks about a contract extension with Johnson’s camp (I mentioned this on Twitter late last night after hearing for sure that this was going on). A three-time All-Star, Johnson is heading into the final year of the five-year, $70 million deal he signed in August 2005 (which if traced back, you will realize was the rebirth of the franchise that has since made the playoffs in back-to-back years).
With superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh headlining next summer’s free agent crop, several teams are lining up to be major players. And that means more competition for the Hawks, were they to let Johnson get to next summer as an unrestricted free agent.
There’s plenty of time for these talks to progress, training camp is still nearly two months away. Just knowing that they are talking, though, is a good sign that the Hawks plan on taking a proactive approach where JJ is concerned. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
Speaking of training camp, it appears blog-fav/road grader Garret Siler is headed back to the city for training camp, per our friends at the Augusta Chronicle. The big fella had a good showing at the Hawks’ rookie/free agent mini-camp last month. He was mulling training camp invite offers from both the Hawks and Minnesota, but the Timberwolves’ pursuit of Ryan Hollins helped make his decision a little easier.
The need for a veteran big like Joe Smith remains, but at least we know there will at least one true “big man” (6-11 or taller and at least 270 pounds) in camp along with Zaza Pachulia.