Another day, another Joe Johnson rumor.
This time it’s Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reporting that the Mavericks are interested in acquiring J.J. They are over the salary cap, so the only way to do that would be through a sign-and-trade agreement. That means J.J. would have to want to play for the Mavs and Dallas and Atlanta would have to come to an agreement on a trade.
The key line in Wojnarowski’s story is this: “Johnson is determined to get the sixth guaranteed season on a contract that could only come with re-signing in Atlanta or a sign-and-trade arrangement, sources say.” This is along the lines of what I’ve been saying all along, that guys just don’t leave $25-$30 million on the table. The signals being sent out by J.J,’s camp are clear: If Atlanta offers the most cash, Johnson will re-sign. If not, he will look elsewhere. What’s not clear is if the Hawks are willing to pay J.J. the max if that’s what it takes to keep him.
The thing to remember when all of these stories leak (in addition to the fact that leakers always have an agenda) is that no one knows for sure what J.J. is going to do. Last week the word was J.J. was ready to make an early commitment to Chicago. Then he was willing to take less cash to play for the Knicks. Now the latest is that he really wants a sign-and-trade, and perhaps he will look at Dallas (or Houston, as an enticement for Bosh to also sign there).
The AJC’s Mark Bradley asks if Atlanta wants J.J. back and that’s a good question. He mentions how the city of Cleveland has pretty much begged LeBron to come back. Bradley is talking about the fans, but it also seems the Hawks organization has been relatively subdued in its public recruitment of J.J. as compared to the teams of other top free agents.
In Miami, for instance, the Heat have gone all out to show the love for D-Wade. There’s been no reason to guess if the Heat wants D-Wade and if they will pay the max to make it happen. You can say that’s because it’s a no-brainer for Miami to pay D-Wade the max, and you would be correct. However, the Heat also went crazy for Udonis Haslem, who is a good player but not a star.
Hawks management, meanwhile, has been pretty quiet in regards to J.J. Soon after the season ended GM Rick Sund said the Hawks will do all they can to re-sign J.J. and has repeated that statement a couple times. But that’s been about it as far as public pleadings for J.J. by Atlanta’s brass. That hasn’t changed even as all these stories surface suggesting that other teams are ready to make aggressive pushes for J.J.
Anyway, we will soon see how it all plays out. I’m sticking with my belief that J.J. will re-sign with the Hawks if they offer the most money. They are still in control of this process.