J.J.: “I would love to” re-sign with Hawks “but who knows what happens”

J.J. took questions about his free agency, offered few answers. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

J.J. took questions about his free agency, offered few answers. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

Dallas– Left Joe Johnson for a while at All-Star media availability on Friday to get some other stuff, and then caught up with him as he finally stood from his table and got the heck out of there.

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.”

That’s about as close as J.J. will come to saying he intends to re-sign with the Hawks. That’s good business, of course. No need to say one way or another until he sees how the Hawks finish out the season and then he can get a feel for the market.

And even after Johnson tipped his hand by asking for the extension (but later declining the Hawks’ four-year, $60 million offer for CBA reasons), the Hawks understand there’s a real chance he might decide to sign elsewhere for whatever reason(s). J.J. probably really doesn’t know what’s going to happen right now.

In the meantime, expect the same noncommittal answers from him as reporters continue to ask him about his free-agency plans.

MC

63 comments Add your comment

Benjamin

February 13th, 2010
1:10 am

First.

And sad. I hope Joe stays…

eyebrows

February 13th, 2010
1:21 am

now you see em, now they burnt off!

theZaZaGuy

February 13th, 2010
1:39 am

Based on what I can glean from having followed his career, my gut tells me that he’s going to stay. Joe is a quality person. He’s close to his family and has a forgiving heart. Having said that, show him no respect and he will act in kind. As long as Sund shows that he believes in him and is willing to show him the proper respect, I think Joe will reciprocate. Sund has shown a willingness to “take care of” players that fit into our strategic vision as he did with ZaZa, Smoove, and Marvin. I see no reason that this core of players should not be kept for at least the next 2-3 years.

BirdDawg

February 13th, 2010
1:54 am

What’s the probability that the Hawks could take the money they were going to give Joe and land Dwyane Wade or even, dare I say it, Lebron James? I think this team would be a shoe in for a couple of championships with D-Wade at two guard. He plays hard all the time and he’s a leader on the floor. I don’t know if Lebron would quite mesh with the core they have in place, but he sure would put this team in line for at least 60 wins…as long as they don’t bring Woodson back.

TROCK

February 13th, 2010
2:09 am

Lets sign Bosh, and let go of JJ.

MannyT

February 13th, 2010
2:24 am

With the complex NBA salary cap rules and the Hawks cap situation, you can’t get what you (magic beans traders) want.

If JJ leaves, almost all of that salary cap space goes away because the Hawks are under the cap.

Lose JJ and you probably replace him with someone willing to take Marvin’s pay.

Unless you know a way to get 1/2 of a Bosh or LeBron, you get none and no JJ.

Love the one your with. JJ works in the ATL.

BWAF

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 13th, 2010
2:31 am

I’m so hay to be back in the A for a little while to get away from all the Who Dat Hoopla – equally happy to see JJ get some props and start this All-Star Game – he deserves it. He is not the Ra Ra type of guy like a Lebron or Wade, but he is a quality, consistant star like a James Worthy – definitely someone the Hawks would want to keep around.

ant banks

February 13th, 2010
2:32 am

i dont have any confidence in the ASG. did you see what they did on the hockey end? joe ain’t worth max, but dwade is. i think that we are a shoe in for the east if we had our core wit’ dwade.

1.crawford
2.dwade
3.marvin
4.smoove
5.horford

explain to me why this line up wont make it out of the 2nd rnd

Be for serial Joe

February 13th, 2010
3:10 am

Joe Johnson’s coments sound eerily- if that’s a word, or I spelled it right, to Ilya Kovalchuk’s lies he spread before being traded. The Hawks need to protect their assets, and if Joe is going to bail, they need to get something for him. As much as we all want to see the Hawks do well in the playoffs, there are only 2 routes at this point, since it seems like a sure thing that they will make the playoffs. The first is hang on to Joe and get beat by the Magic or the Cavs. let’s be honest with ourselves here, we have no legitimate shot of beating either team the way the roster currently stands. Even if we make the Eastern Conference Finals, there is no legitimate way that we beat either team…. The obvious decision is to trade Joe Johnson, as much as Hawks fans don’t want to hear it. Even if this is the situation that goes down, its not all horrible… In the ideal Hawks world, LeBron would lose out on another championship and get angry at the cavs. After not re-signing with them, he will look to find the greatest opportunity to find a championship. once he realizes that a sign-and-trade involving himself and joe johnson/marvin williams will put him on the hawks w josh smith and al horford, he will jump at the chance, if he is not a re-tard. In doing so, the Atlanta Hawks will win the 2011 NBA championship… If this doesn’t go down…. good waste of time….

theZaZaGuy

February 13th, 2010
5:18 am

Super cereal-ly Lebron is a retard. He is Michael Jordan before he grew up. Dwade only has a rep because he won a championship with Shaq AND Alonzo Mourning. Sure he played great, but so did Joe two seasons ago against the celtics. Joe plays D, rebounds, and leads quietly. Smoove only figured it out because Joe sat him down and told him the what’s what.

Neither Lebron nor Dwade will win a championship any time soon. Cleveland will fade once the microscope on Stern’s machinations force him to back off. Boston is old. The Magic have chemistry problems. This is the year that the Hawks go to the finals. I maybe wrong about this, but I’d be willing to bet $1000 that Joe stays in Atlanta through 2012.

DeepDiver

February 13th, 2010
5:29 am

All ignoramus posters with the pie-in-the-sky ideas about using ‘Joe’s money’ to make a run at one of the A-list free agents, please reference Manny T’s post above.

Just because we don’t pay Joe’s $15m comes off the books doesn’t mean we have that money to go and offer someone else. You guys should do your research before coming on here and posting this Dwade/Lebron/Bosh drivel: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm

Or maybe you think you have a better handle on the situation than the man who gets paid to know such things (Sund).

tony

February 13th, 2010
5:56 am

JJ is not a vocal leader. He doesn’t have the personality nor the vocality to lead a team. He should play under leaderships such as Steve Nash, LeBron James, or Chris Paul where he would be more of a role player. The hawks need a facilitator not a recipient. Here’s a list of facilitators that the hawks need to lead the team:

Dwyane Wade
Raymond Felton
Aaron Brooks
Deron William
Jason Kidd
Steve Nash
LeBron James
Chris Paul

The hawks should try to sign Raymond Felton and Chris Bosh. Raymond is a facilitator, vocal leader and a true point gaurd. Jeff Teague was a waste because he is not a true pg. We should have taken Eric Maynor instead. Chris Bosh gives us the strongest front court in the league and he scores more points and rebound more than JJ.

2010 Starting Lineup:
pg-Raymond Felton
sg-Jamal Crawford
sf-Chris Bosh
pf-Josh Smith
c-Al Horford / Jerome Jordan 7′0(rookie)

Dr

DeepDiver

February 13th, 2010
6:13 am

Fine, ignore all logic then. As you were. We should sign Wade, Lebron and Bosh in the offseason! That will get us out of the second round. Somebody get Sund on the horn STAT!

Coach D

February 13th, 2010
6:56 am

What is the Hawks record since Woody got rid of his eyebrows? Anyone?

cheese

February 13th, 2010
7:40 am

if joe johnson does not come back next season. who will they sign? yes there are other great free agents out there, but lets be realistic. how will that player mesh with this core group that the hawks have? unless we get a superstar to come here and j.j. doesnt come back. the hawks go from one of the top teams in the nba to fighting just to get a playoff spot. so to all those people wanting joe johnson to not be a hawk for various reasons, you might want to rethink that.

Jagstang76

February 13th, 2010
7:45 am

Guys, be realistic here. There is very little chance of us getting any of Lebron, Wade, or Bosh this offseason. We aren’t in a position to make any moves except perhaps resign JJ and possibly upgrade the bench. BTW, I’d love to see us make a run at Haslem. We are committed to Smoove, Marvin, and Horford, and until that changes there isn’t going to be any significant moves. Personally, I want to see Sund resign JJ and find a way to bring in a better starting PG. Maybe a Devon Harris if the salaries work out. I just don’t see us being able to do much more than that.

If I were dreaming, I’d see about getting DWade to play with JJ and our current starters. Now that would be a sick backcourt!!!

dexter jenkins

February 13th, 2010
7:55 am

I HAVE A BETTER NICK NAME FOR BIG AI .LETS CALL HIM ( BAM BAM”) love it.

dap01

February 13th, 2010
8:07 am

My gut feeling is that he leaves. He is a great player. His only short coming is that he is not a leader. But he is a great Hawk.

For those saying if Sund “disrespects” him…. Sund has already offered $15 per year for 4 years which is about the max that he can offer him and not go in to luxury tax.

I say offer as much as we can under the luxury and if he rejects, let him take his game somewhere else. Again, he is a great player that will not easily be replaced.

dap01

February 13th, 2010
8:10 am

If JJ leaves, the next best scenario of for Bosh to come. Probably not possible. But what about Ray Allen at a much lower salary and add a defensive minded big man. I love ZaZa but this team needs a tall defensive big man on the bench.

Ramon

February 13th, 2010
8:34 am

Dap01 could you imagine a back court with Bibby and Allen playing matador defense? That back court will only take 35 seconds for Al and Josh to get in foul trouble each game.

RA

February 13th, 2010
8:40 am

Here’s the thing, the Hawks signed Joe to a long term deal when no one else seemed to have a mind to. If the best he can do is repay that loyalty with none comittal answers, maybe he needs wants and needs to be somewhere else.

bjrufino

February 13th, 2010
8:53 am

joe please stay!!
all I can say is please stay

tradejoejohnson.com

February 13th, 2010
8:57 am

Re-signing Joe Johnson would be an act of agreeing to remain a perennial 2nd Round playoff team. Joe is not Batman he is Robin, therefore, it’s no need to pay him Batman money. The Hawks already have Robin on the team and his name is Jamal Crawford. The Hawks need to make a strong push to do a sign-and-trade with Joe. Joe has done all that he is capable of doing as the “star” player. He will not lead the Hawks to the “Promised Land.”

dap01

February 13th, 2010
9:10 am

Ramon: Good point.

BC

February 13th, 2010
9:11 am

Be real.Joe has got to go.Please take Woodson with you.I agree trading Joe now for anything is better than giving him away after the season,and please don’t get me started on the Spirit Group,I would rather vomit.

darrell starks

February 13th, 2010
9:11 am

BOSTON PAYROLL 85MILL
CAVS PAYROLL 78MILL
RAPTOR PAYROLL 67MILL
SIXERS PAYROLL 60MILL
KNICKS PAYROLL 72MILL
NETS PAYROLL 49MILL
BULLS PAYROLL 53MILL
PISTON PAYROLL 44MILL
PACERS PAYROLL 61MILL
BUCKS PAYROLL 65MILL
HORNET PAYROLL 63MILL
HEAT PAYROLL 77MILL
MAGIC PAYROLL 79MILL
WIZARD PAYROLL 76MILL
HAWKS PAYROLL 58MILL
THE HAWKS ARE RANK 11 IN PAYROLL IN THE EASTERN CONF.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

KBP

February 13th, 2010
9:16 am

Will someone name a 2 guard better than Joe other than Kobe and D Wade? Brandon Roy is not as good defensively. The coaches around the league voted Joe on the All-Star team for the 4th time, not the fan vote-which is a popularity contest. I love Jamal Crawford’s game but why has a proven scorer been traded so many times? He has deficiencies, defense being the main one. If the Hawks do not resign Joe then trading him is the next best option. Can’t let him walk and get nothing in return.

darrell starks

February 13th, 2010
9:22 am

According to what Hubbie Brown said there is no way you can win a nba title with out atleast 1 nba superstar, the only team 2 achieve that goal with no superstar is the PISTONS with CHAUNCY, HAMILTON, TASHON, WALLACE, THERE YOU HAVE IT NO NBA TITLE FOR YOUR ATLANTA HAWKS.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!

Ree Roe

February 13th, 2010
9:25 am

Some of the suggestions yall are making scare the daylights out of me as a Hawks fan…Bosh as a 3? Jamal Crawford as a PG? Shoot, Jamal Crawford starting is a scary proposition b/c he’s nowhere NEAR as good a defender as Joe and he’s turnover prone. Why yall think Jamal would be the answer at the 2 continues to baffle me. Joe is our franchise guy & he fits this roster & city well. Humble, quality & consistent. That’s Joe Johnson. And he’s starting the All Star Game yet some of yall think he can be easily replaced, SMH. Hawks need to do everything they can to bring him back & work on solidifying the bench.

-REEpeatedly Roe!!!

darrell starks

February 13th, 2010
9:32 am

ASG DID ITS JOB OVER THE SUMMER BUT JOE TURNED IT DOWN JOE WILL BE GONE AFTER THE SEASON.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!

darrell starks

February 13th, 2010
9:37 am

Joe want superstar money is joe a superstar? no
GO HAWKS!!!!!!

Slo-Mo

February 13th, 2010
9:45 am

Trade Marvin for Caron Butler, pay Joe, and the Hawks will soar.

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
9:52 am

In response to the post by Tony, I understand what you’re getting at saying that the Hawks need a facilitator. But, you mentioned a list of players that JJ needs to play next to, and a lot of those guys were PG’s. Basically, what you’re saying is the Hawks lack a solid PG. Usually, JJ or JAMAL end up dominating possessions because there isn’t another guy that can penetrate and create for others. Jamal has the ability to create/penetrate, but isn’t much of a facilitator.

This is one of the many reasons we need to develop Teague. You mentioned Aaron Brooks, well, I don’t see why JT0 can’t duplicate what Aaron Brooks brings to the Rockets. Both have the ability to penetrate which opens things up for others. Brooks may have a better shot at this point and is much better finishing at the rim than JT0 at this point, but if Teague develops – I’d say he’ll develop into something similar to Aaron Brooks or Rajon Rondo.

IMO, the Hawks are ONE SOLID PEICE away from taking another step forward. A PG with the abilities of a Chris Paul or a Derron Williams would definately enhance the Hawks chances, but how do the Hawks land a player like that AND retain JJ/Horford? It’d honestly also be interesting to see JJ adjust to playing with a true PG. JJ gets a lot of his points going one on one – dominating possessions. Would he be as effective playing with someone else who needs to have the ball in their hands? I know we were asking many of these same questions when Jamal came. People were questioning whether those two would co-exist, but it’s worked out great thus far. Still though, you can’t help but wonder how much better or worse the Hawks would be with a TRUE PG.

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
9:56 am

They’d only be better.

Seriously, a PG whose solid on both ends of the floor, offense and defense, would be a dream-come-true. I’m tired of watching young promising PG’s develop year after year while we’ve been sitting here lacking one for years.

I agree with what Big Ray stated in a post on another blog. Teague will eventually get his PT. Woody’s responses to questions about JT0 point to this. I just hope the kid pans out.

Hawk n the Ham

February 13th, 2010
9:58 am

I better not have spent $80 on my Joe Johnson jersey, and him just leave.

Dear Joe, please stay in ATL so I don’t have to buy another Hawks jersey with someone else’s name.

Thanks,
Hawk n the Ham

Astro Joe

February 13th, 2010
9:59 am

Manny said it best in the wee hours of the morning… love the one you’re with.

DeepDiver

February 13th, 2010
10:00 am

joe may not be a superstar but he’s the best we can do. In case you hadn’t noticed, those are hard to come by. We don’t have the cap room to make a competitive offer to any of the top tier free agents even with Joe’s salary off the books. The best e can do is to keep this team in tact and try to make small moves and see what the ceiling is. Otherwise we will have sold ourselves short on this looooooooooong rebuilding process and we’ll be a fringe playoff team.

Hawk n the Ham

February 13th, 2010
10:00 am

A.I. should have never been voted an All-Star. With that being said, we should all be very happy for Joe, he deserves to start in the All-Star game.

Congrats Joe!! ATL is proud of you!!

Wabe

February 13th, 2010
10:01 am

UPGRADE AT PG/SF would help.

Basically, you’d be able to slide either Bibby or Marvin to the bench, and that’d provide a much-needed upgrade to quality bench-depth as well.

whoa

February 13th, 2010
10:04 am

Trade JOe along with a ‘12 draft pick NOW! for Rodney Stuckey and Tyshaun Prince, the hawks problem is that they are all kind of out of shape, nobody could guard nate robinson when played knicks and nobody could guard any body when we played oklahoma city, so we need some athleticism. Teauge Is soft spoken idk if he was the best pick but were stucj with him now so he needs to work on shooting and get much stronger hell be fine. Smith has to do the same get stronger and work on shooting. as far as moves:
Trade joe, 1st round for rodney and tayshaun, sign Brenden Haywood, and either tyrus thoms or Joel Anthony, and draft Stanley RObinson from UConn well be much better than we are now 2 yrs down the rd becuz we have athleticsm:
1: BIbby/Teauge
2:Crawford/Stuckey
3:Williams/Prince/Robinson
4:SMith/THomas or Anthony
5:Horford/Haywood/Pacchulia/

THats a nice lineup

qlb

February 13th, 2010
10:06 am

Joe Johnson is the best thing to happen to the hawks since domonique. It would be crazy to let him go he deserves his money, he is active in the community and never gets in off court trouble which is rare for athletes today. The hawks need a true backup center and need to try to develop jt0 and keep crawford who is the 6th man of the year. ATL was doing nothing until Joe came. If anyone should have not got paid it was marvin williams who is a bust so far doesnt even average 10 pts a game and was the number 2 overall pick.

Michael Cunningham

February 13th, 2010
10:10 am

@ MannyT, Deep Diver: you are correct. but don’t forget the Hawks could do a sign-and-trade with J.J..

@ Coach D: 5-4

@Slo Mo: that would be difficult. assuming Washington wants Marvin, he’s a base-year compensation guy until the summer. that means the Hawks can’t take as much salary back in a trade as usual under the trade exception. they’d probably have to get a third team involved to make it work. http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q75

moot, anyway, since it looks like Caron is headed to Dallas.

bigdave

February 13th, 2010
10:19 am

i really hope that this is all talk but the Cavs have the pieces:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4910377

Let Joe Walk

February 13th, 2010
10:35 am

Joe is good, but he is not a SUPERSTAR, and Joe is not a guard…., he is a small forward…. he cannot guard any elite 2guards in the leauge..and he has to many games where he doesnt show up with games in the low teens for points.Jamal could easily replace him.. but we do need a center …Al hortford is not a center..hes 6ft 8..Hes good but he is a power forward…..How about Joe, Zaza for Montae Ellis and Biedrens right now..I doubt Joe will sign with us anyway….

junebaby

February 13th, 2010
10:40 am

it seems to me like asg is following the correct plan on the hawks. what more can they do. they had a plan for the hawks, and so far the blueprint is working. this team has gotten better every single year, and they haven’t reached their limit yet. every player that they’ve needed to sign, they got it done! who cares about chills! he’s not even a star in intntl ball, it seems that he was at fault, and not the hawks. was he a great player if he couldn’t beat out marvin? just throwing money around is not always the answer, esp if you’re not in the major media centers. then, you have your la clips, ny knicks, nj nets with all kinds of money, but lousy teams yr. in and yr. out. so imo the spirit group has been very shrewd in their operation of the hawks. as far as the thrashers go, who cares? they never really wanted the thrashers anyway, but it was a package deal, take it or leave it. i expect they’ll dump the thrashers like a used condom, within the next 1-2 years. theres just not enough die-hard fans for hockey in atlanta to excell. sure you’ll have your occasional sell-out, but nothing long term. i think the hawks have a very bright future, even if they lose j.j. that would be a set-back in the short term, but unimportant in the overall picture.

niremetal

February 13th, 2010
10:55 am

Jamal Crawford has been an incredible addition for the Hawks. Without him, we wouldn’t be in a dogfight with Boston and Orlando for a top 3 seed; we’d be a distant fourth, looking over our shoulder at Toronto and Chicago during March and April. Calling him “The Difference” is absolutely right – he is the difference between us winning 47 games and us winning 55.

But it’s incredible that some people actually think that Jamal is in the same class as JJ as a player. They’re not. There is not a single facet of the game except drawing fouls in which Jamal is better than JJ. Throughout their careers, JJ has scored more points while shooting a higher percentage from the floor, playing better D, getting more rebounds, and having a better assist to turnover ratio while playing for better teams. There’s a reason JJ has 4 All-Star appearances and is about to be an All-Star starter while Jamal and “All-Star” haven’t even been mentioned in the same breath in the past decade except by the incredibly basketball-clueless Jeff Schultz.

Jamal is the Hawks’ fourth most valuable player, several steps behind JJ, Smoove, and Horford (and this year, it’s tough to say which one of those is #1). He is a role player who is asked to come off the bench and be a SuperFlip scorer, not unlike Jason Terry in Dallas. People who think he is capable of doing anything remotely resembling “replacing” JJ clearly did not watch him play during the first 8 years of his career. Part of the reason that he has looked so good this year is that he is drawing way less defensive attention this year than he ever did before. Get rid of JJ and ask him to step up and fill the void, and the Hawks will be in for a very rough year.

Jamal is a good player, and probably the best Sixth Men in the NBA. But he is not someone you want being your lead option.

niremetal

February 13th, 2010
11:00 am

bigdave,

I really think Amare would be a risky fit in Cleveland. So much of what they do relies on their prowess on the defensive end, and Amare has rarely shown interest in that. Also, Amare has always had the benefit of playing alongside the NBA’s best distributor; will he be as effective without Nash around to feed him the ball?

Gamer

February 13th, 2010
11:04 am

Confidence, is what Smoking Gun Joe Johnson brings to the offensive and defensive end of the court for the Atlanta Hawks.

Not many NBA ALL-STARS BRING QUALITY EFFORTS TO BOTH END OF THE COURT.

While I wouldn’t overpay Joe Johnson or any other player (lebron nor kobe); I would do everything in my power as an owner and GM to close a quality deal for a quality player like SMOKING GUN JOE JOHNSON!!!

IF HAWKS STAY HEALTHY AND FOCUS THEN THE HAWKS WILL MAKE BEDLAM IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

bigdave

February 13th, 2010
12:04 pm

Nire…

true and i think it would take Varejao/Hickson or maybe both going back and that would hurt. however, im not sold on any of the Cavs (exception West and the queen being ok) individual defense. they are good at team defense and thats something thats bought into. it scares me b/c its another big coming to town and not just any big. Amare can play along side Shaq at the high post and when Shaq is tired they bring in Z and you have 2 bigs that can shoot. i just dont like it… too much fire power. Nash definitely aided Amare but lets not underestimate his talents and the queen’s passing prowess…

Rich

February 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

The bottom freaking line is Joe doesn’t deserve more than 16 mill. He can not carry a team on his own. A lot of the times he does the complete OPPOSITE. Note the Miami game the other night.Joe is a great person and I’d love him to stay, BUT for more than 16 mill? Heeeelllllllllllllllllllllllllll no, Joe. Pack your bags and skedaddle if you want more than that. We’ll go get a guy that can handle the ball, not screw with the offensive rhythm, and not lose games for us. Dribble dribble dribble, dribble dribble bad shot/turnover. I think we’ve seen that enough from you to say you might not even deserve 16.