Hawks at Wizards . . . AKA Will (Should) Joe Johnson Go?

Will Joe take his ball and leave? Do you want him to go? (Zach Wolfe, Dimemag)

Will Joe take his ball and leave? Do you want him to go? (Zach Wolfe, Dimemag)

New York media have their eye on J.J. Meanwhile THHB (now over at Peachtree Hoops) says you can have J.J. with his old, expensive, ball-demanding self.

First, the New York stuff. J.J. went through the media wringer there like all big-name (he is, right?) free-agents-to-be. Speculation was that Johnson’s history with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and agent Arn Tellem’s relationship with Donnie Walsh could lead to J.J. signing with the Knicks.

Johnson didn’t say he won’t leave the Hawks and there’s no reason, financial or otherwise, for him to do so. He told reporters he’d have no problem playing in New York and was open to seeing what other teams have to offer. But he didn’t give many hints about his intentions.

“Everybody (in New York) makes so much of it because (of) D’Antoni,” Johnson said. “Me and him got a good relationship. That is always going to be kind of scrutinized and everybody wants to know what’s what. So we’ll see. I don’t know what is going to happen, to be honest with you.”

One thing that gets lost in the Johnson speculation is that Tellem approached the Hawks about an extension last summer. That indicates a desire for Johnson to stay, right? If Tellem really was trying to steer J.J. to New York why would he do that? Plus, i’ve always thought it’s a bit paternalistic when it’s suggested agents influence players to that degree. Tellem works for J.J., not the other way around.

Anyway, the Hawks offered a four-year deal in excess of $60 million but Johnson decided against it at the last minute. He’s gambling that he can secure a more lucrative deal from the Hawks or another team as a free agent. During All-Star weekend Johnson, who is making nearly $15 million this season, said he would “love to” re-sign with the Hawks.

So depending on when he’s asked and how deeply you want to read into it, Johnson either wants to re-sign with the Hawks, would welcome a move to New York, isn’t interested in a rebuilding franchise or really truly doesn’t know right now (my vote).

“That all can wait until when the season is over and we have completed what we are trying to do here,” Johnson said. “I am trying to not let none of that be a distraction to me or my teammates and just have fun like we’ve been doing.”

It’s not been so fun for THHB. Well, maybe it has, but he (it?) says Joe needs to go because of age, money and usage rate. THHB’s reasoning is sound but, in my view, premature.

If the Hawks make it to the Eastern Conference finals and make a good showing with J.J. as the centerpiece, and the Hawks believe they really are close to breaking through, would (could) they let J.J. go and turn it over to Josh, Al and whatever talent they can acquire in a sign-and-trade? Doesn’t it happen all the time in the NBA that true contending teams overpay for centerpiece players they know will be in decline during the back end of the deal for a shot at winning it all?

And isn’t that one of your frequent complaints about ASG, that it doesn’t spend the money to go for it? Somehow I don’t think it would go over too well if the Hawks let J.J. go after a strong postseason run and say “Well, we were close to the Finals but we have to manage our finances, Joe is getting old, he needs the ball too much and so we wish him well. Here are some new players.”

Of course, if the Hawks flame out in the first round or get handled again in the second with J.J. jacking up iso jumpers then please refer back to THHB’s take and forget I ever wrote this.

– Coincidentally, here is my Iso-Joe update after 17 games of tracking: 38 possessions, 37 points, four misses by teammates, one turnover, and three offensive rebounds by teammates. The production has dropped off lately to .97 points per possession for Iso-Joe. If extrapolated out for the entire season and compared to the league offensive efficiency rankings season (which I know really shouldn’t be done but I’m doing it anyway ), those numbers would put fourth quarter Iso-Joe somewhere in T-Wolves and Nets territory (but check my math on that, non-mathematically challenged blog people)

– I looked back at a post from Hawks blog legend Sekou from back around the time the Hawks were considering an extension for J.J. Man, things have changed these last few months. His blog people (a few of them still my blog people) were dang near begging for a deal to get done. Not so much anymore.

– Humor me for a minute, blog people, while I relate my little tale.

The Hawks visited the White House this morning. I somehow passed the background check and made the list, too. Sweet. Hopped in a cab (which really was one of those shady car service deals without a meter) to head over to Hawks’ hotel so I could get on their bus. Tell the driver the name of the hotel, he asks me for the address. Tell him the address, he starts punching it in a GPS.

Me: “Um, you know where it’s at, right? It’s a major hotel.”
Him: “Sure, no problem!”

There’s a bunch of traffic, so I ask him if there’s a way around it. “Sure, no problem!” It takes us 10 minutes just to double back to where we just left. Eventually we run into construction and even more traffic than before. The driver is blasting French talk radio and the annoying GPS voice is loudly barking directions that the driver isn’t following. It’s loud, we are barely moving and I’m shook, thinking I’m going to miss my chance to meet the President of the United States of America because of an incompetent cabby.

We get to the hotel 50 minutes after leaving, 10 minutes too late for me to catch the Hawks’ bus. The guy tells me it’s $25 when it was $15 for me to get to my hotel from the same point. There’s a cop right there, so I didn’t argue (but I also didn’t tip). I hop the subway to the Verizon Center to wait for the Hawks’ shootaround. I tell Washington Post Wiz beat writer Michael Lee about my adventure, he says the cab ride should have taken no more than 10 minutes, 20 tops with traffic.

Eventually Hawks PR man Arthur Triche texts me that shootaround is canceled. I asked if the team met the president, scared of the answer. Triche says they didn’t because the president was in policy meetings. So it turns out I didn’t have to find that driver and choke him, I am not in jail and I’m still your beat writer.

– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.

MC

135 comments Add your comment

Tim Tebow's Tears

March 11th, 2010
5:28 pm

Should never take crap from cab drivers

Rufus1

March 11th, 2010
5:28 pm

Don’t Go Joe!!!!!!!

Hawksgirl

March 11th, 2010
5:34 pm

white house! lol please dont get locked up

northcyde

March 11th, 2010
5:37 pm

LOL . . . you’d been better off walking.

As for the JJ issue, like I said, let everything play itself out. No need to even be talking about that right now. And I would guess that the drop of production in ISO-Joe, correlates with his 37% Fg shooting in his pas 5 or 6 games.

But without ISO-Joe, we’re not winning huge playoff games. The playoffs are where the stars take off and show what they bring to the table.

Let all of this play out, and see where we’re at once the season is over.

clarkekent

March 11th, 2010
5:39 pm

Joe johnson is a all-star not a superstar. i would trade/exchange/ any means created – move him for D-Wade. he would get eht key to thet city ..that Atlanta and Majic. superstars “WILL” there team to victory via defense or offense. Joe is not aggressive offensively. he shoots to many floaters and fade-aways in the paint which allows the REFS not to make a call. he does not get to the free-throw line for the same reason. he rarely makes a key defensive play or stop for this team. his defense is good but not great. But with all that being said he still is one of the better SG in the league and if the Hawks can’t upgrade they need to keep him. A coaching chnage is needed more than personnel

anderson jones

March 11th, 2010
5:45 pm

I will be at the game tonight. Will be interesting to see what the turnout is as this is a make up game. Gotta hope the defensive effort starts to pick up because transition defense is this team’s ceiling.

Rufus1

March 11th, 2010
5:45 pm

Joe dominates the ball, because of the offense we run…and Woodson has based his job on keeping Joe happy. Woodson’s offense appears to be designed for a PG play maker(Billups, D. Williams)…Joe is a scorer(Kobe, Carmelo). That is Why I am confused with his inability to develop a PG.

I believe Woodson is coaching for his job, that is why Teague isn’t getting playing time…BUT I THINK TEAGUES LACK DEVELOPMENT, WILL ULTIMATLY COST HIS JOB..

PS..Teagues minutes are starting to look like AC Law’s.

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2010
5:50 pm

It feels like we have Joe on “secret-double-probation”. We’re monitoring his iso plays, we’re tracking his late-game efficiency, we’re auditing his vegetable intake and we’re examining his dental hygiene. But hey, we’ve enjoyed so much winning basketball in the past 10-15 years that we have every right to expect nothing short of perfection from our players.

northcyde

March 11th, 2010
5:51 pm

SMH . . . it’s like the AJC is trying to run the dude out of town. Has ANYBODY written a positive piece on JJ the entire year, despite this being one of the top 5 Hawks seasons since they’ve been in Atlanta?

And no one can still name a realistic replacement to JJ, other than to let Jamal take control. For all of you that want JJ to go, tell us who you want to replace him? And no, we can’t get the top free agents this summer, because we don’t have enough money.

So who do we go after? Or better yet, what GOOD player ( i.e. – Crawford, Smoove, Horford ) do we trade, in order to get that star caliber guy here?

darrell starks

March 11th, 2010
5:53 pm

Yes we must keep joe but you still have 2 have a superstar in order 2 win a title period, for all you cats trying 2 explain something 2 please tell me something i dont no.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

northcyde

March 11th, 2010
5:53 pm

It’s too obvious huh? @ astro

Joe's place Joe speaking

March 11th, 2010
6:07 pm

Hey Michael Cunningham what would the hawks look for if Joe leaves? You mentioned a sign and trade I’m assuming with the knicks, Really? Who do they have that would compensate for Joe? Only thing would be the draft picks but wouldn’t that be rebuilding if we are trading OUR superstar for draft picks?

Hawk n the Ham

March 11th, 2010
6:07 pm

The wait and see game for JJ in the playoffs will be interesting. Last year he was a No Show, but that is highly related to being just dog tired at the end of the season.

What I think will be interesting on the wait and see, will be Jamal in the playoffs. The man is a scorer, and finisher. It will be his first time with a legit playoff team. Jamal may be the hungriest player on the court come playoff time. Crawdaddy is my ‘wait and see’.

bigdave

March 11th, 2010
6:09 pm

i dont see how the Hawks can benefit by losing Joe.. re up and continue to make progress.. however, our scheme/coaching needs to be adjusted, modified, etc.

Michael Cunningham

March 11th, 2010
6:10 pm

@ northcyde and astro joe: hey, i think i hold J.J. in higher regard than most of my blog people (which is kind of weird when you think about it). in fact i started tracking the isos because i didn’t want to just say it’s the worst thing ever without at least making some kind of honest attempt to analyze it objectively. it was working very well until lately and i said so.

to me, the bigger issue when talking about a max or near-max deal is Joe’s age. that’s why i think how close the Hawks get to the promised land this postseason will be key. if they think they can take it to the next level with him playing at or somewhat below his current level, they may have to do it.

Michael Cunningham

March 11th, 2010
6:12 pm

@ Joe’s place: i haven’t looked at it too closely yet because there’s so much that will happen between now and then. but, as you say, i doubt it would be the Knicks or any other team that has picks as their most attractive chip(s).

clarkekent

March 11th, 2010
6:26 pm

FA- list i can think of:

LBJ – player option
Ray Allen
Raymond felton
Rudy Gay – player option or restricted – not sure
D-wade – my choice/give him the key to the city – majic city and Atlanta
Micheal Redd
T-mac
manu
Chric bosh – player option like LBJ
boozer
and of course joe johnson

VenomSpitter

March 11th, 2010
6:30 pm

Hopefully Joe is gone. I’m sick of him. Ball Hoggin menace

SWAT Native

March 11th, 2010
6:33 pm

People should remember that Joe (or Lebron, Bosh, D. Wade or any of the others) would be a fool from a negotiation perspective to say that he only wants to resign with Atlanta and would not consider other options. For example, I personally believe that Lebron knows he’s going to resign with Cleveland and keeps wearing those NY hats just to keep the Cav’s guessing and to force them to build as strong a team around him as possible so that he won’t have a reason to leave. Just like Ilgauskis was “impressed” by the Hawks, but ultimately went back to Cleveland. And anyone that thinks that the Hawks would be better off without Joe is just plain wrong.

NCBravesFan

March 11th, 2010
6:35 pm

Well I agree that it’s too early to be talking about this, but it’s hard to kick the AJC for raising the issue when Joe addresses “the question” with the NY media. Joe needs to shut up about that stuff and play – especially since he’s the team captain!

Play hard and show leadership on a young squad – that’s the best way to increase your market value, Joe!

Jo Bling

March 11th, 2010
6:43 pm

Signing Joe Johnson to a max deal would be a mistake. Woodson has burned him out over the last three years with excessive minutes, and now, at this critical point of the season where we had a chance to keep the pressure on the Magic, JJ has hit the wall yet again. This was the year Joe was supposed to be nice and rested with fresh legs after the All-Star break. Instead, he looks like he’s really struggling. I think four years at $60 million sounds about right, but it’s going to take more, possibly a lot more. Tough decision for the GM if Joe really wants to stay here and we have a chance to match an offer. That’s why Mr. Sund gets the big bucks. He’s had a lot of time to think about this one.

The Grinch

March 11th, 2010
6:53 pm

Does Joe run iso-Joe, or does Woody? Woodson is the most unimaginative, underwhelming, uninspiring, underachieving person imaginable short of Charlie Brown that could be running this talented young team. What’s happening to Teague is a crime both he and AC Law should sue Woodson for in civil court and win. If he’s still here next year it won’t matter if JJ is or not.

eturn

March 11th, 2010
6:55 pm

Joe must go!!!!!

eturn

March 11th, 2010
6:56 pm

And send Woody with him

Sautee

March 11th, 2010
6:59 pm

“But hey, we’ve enjoyed so much winning basketball in the past 10-15 years that we have every right to expect nothing short of perfection from our players.”

But AJ, wasn’t it Joe HIMSELF who said he wanted to join the “elite” players?

If those are his own expectations, why should the fans expect less?

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:04 pm

Nique is talking about Josh’s nimbers.

bigdave

March 11th, 2010
7:07 pm

FIND MINUTES FOR JOE SMITH!

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:08 pm

Hawkz mac’n on da first booty, wazzup.

bigdave

March 11th, 2010
7:09 pm

lets get it..!!

go Hawks, and Tech…

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:12 pm

uncontested layup for Miller.

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:13 pm

layup for McGee

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:14 pm

Josh will never learn to give up the ball and he will get it back

bigdave

March 11th, 2010
7:14 pm

find Bibby, find a basket…

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:14 pm

layup for Blatch

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:18 pm

ducked in on that one Marv and drew the foul.

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:19 pm

power move by Al

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:20 pm

should have said Marv drew the fowl. lol

Watch McGee

March 11th, 2010
7:21 pm

for the longest i’ve been saying we should have gotten McGee when he was just rotting on the bench, not saying he is an allstar, but dude is legitimate 7ft, runs like crazy and has athletic skills with nice defense to boot, he easily would average at least 10pt 8rbs a game, just would fit the Hawks nicely, but oh well

Watch McGee

March 11th, 2010
7:24 pm

someone said that Joe is burned out, what about Wade, that guy is a great player but i see a crash and burn kinda like Iverson because of the punishment he takes with his style of play and minutes he plays

Ree Roe

March 11th, 2010
7:26 pm

I agree with northcyde…who are our replacement options if we don’t get Joe? I believe Joe will resign, but do we have a backup plan at all if he doesn’t? And anybody who believes we’d be better off without Joe is an idiot. There I said it. Go Hawks

-REEsplendently Roe!!!

northcyde

March 11th, 2010
7:29 pm

@ MsDee

As fans, that is what we expect out of players. That they play hard every night and show maximum effort. But once again remember, this is the NBA. An 82 game season grind in a 5 1/2 month span. Just about every team in the league has an off night ( see Boston vs Memphis last night )

But the Hawks this year, at least at home, have been stellar. They may have played 5 bad games at home all year in which they simply laid down. The other 27 games were either great, or they went down to the wire and we won on most occasions.

MsDee . . all I can tell you is to not fall for the okey-doke being tossed around on this board. Don’t let a 1 – 3 record vs the Knicks lead you to believe that we can’t perform in the playoffs. Remember, this is what we’ve done so far this year:

* swept Boston
* swept Portland
* swept Utah
* swept Houston
* won 2 of 3 in Texas
* play Cleveland toe to toe, even though we lost both games
* battled a red hot Dallas team that we should’ve beat

Don’t let the “negative Nancy” bloggers and sportswriters lead you to believe that the Hawks are closer to collapse, than they are to getting to that next level. Don’t let them “yeah, but” their way into diminishing those wins. And don’t believe for one second that a 1 – 3 record vs the Knicks is more important than a 4 – 0 record vs the Celtics.

And don’t let the perception that this team doesn’t play hard, sway you from the fact that we’re 66 – 17 in the past 2 seasons at home.

This team is DEFINITELY worth spending money on to watch.

northcyde

March 11th, 2010
7:32 pm

LOL . . a little overzeaous in that home record. We’re 55 – 17 in the past 2 seasons at home.

Still a stellar 2 year home record.

Omar

March 11th, 2010
7:34 pm

The Hawks would be wise to get rid of Woody, he is the problem with this team, he calls the plays, he has no creativity, and he is a defensive coach so all he knows is ISO

Sautee

March 11th, 2010
7:38 pm

Somebody sounds like they are whistling past the graveyard. LOL!

Sautee

March 11th, 2010
7:45 pm

Josh AND Al w/o a reb so far. NOT a good sign.

J.J.M.

March 11th, 2010
7:46 pm

here we go again

Melvin

March 11th, 2010
7:49 pm

That Woody is very creative, he let Josh play SF for one possession….

northcyde

March 11th, 2010
7:51 pm

Speaking of graveyard, this board sure is inactive tonight. I guess when JJ and Horford start messing up, the comments will flow freely.

And we’re actually 56 – 17 the past 2 years at home.

Sautee

March 11th, 2010
7:53 pm

Horford AND Josh are already “messing up” if that includes having ZERO rebounds between them.

joBjo

March 11th, 2010
7:53 pm

new lob to Marvin against the zone. don’t see that too often.