Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson speaks

I had a sit-down today with J.J. after he signed his new deal at Hawks headquarters. Thought you might want to peep the Q and A:

Q. Can you take me through the process of when you met with the Hawks, they made the offer and then you also had interest from other teams?

A. “It was pretty much the free-agency frenzy that was going on. It was a fun time. I enjoyed it. All along I pretty much felt like Atlanta was the place for me. I have had five great years here. I haven’t regretted anything since I’ve been here. I’ve had a lot of fun. The team has improved every year. The coach and the ownership have done everything possible to improve as a team. I think right now, it is pretty much our time. We have just got to believe in ourselves.”

Q. Did the Hawks discuss their plans for the roster during the meeting?

A. “We kind of sat and talked. They pretty much said how they felt about me coming back to the team and how much they wanted me back. It was a great meeting. They said they are going to do whatever possible to improve the team. They have been doing that since Day One. You can’t argue with that. . . . It was really a brief meeting. We didn’t really have to sit and talk long. I understood where they were coming from, and that was that.”

Q. What did it mean to you for them to offer you the maximum deal?

A. “It meant a lot to know they have got the confidence in me to try to lead this team in the right direction and over the hump. I think we can definitely get over the hump. Knowing they have my back like that makes me want to work even harder. I’m sure I won’t let them down.”

Q. You know how it goes when guys get maximum deals. There’s going to be even more scrutiny of your performance. Are you prepared for that?

A. “I know it’s going to come. I can’t really worry about that. I have to control the things I can control and go and compete night-in and night-out and have fun with it. At the same time, this is definitely my job. I am up for the challenge.”

Q. L.D. has talked about making changes in the offense to get the ball moving more. He says that will help take pressure off of you. Are you cool with not having the ball in your hands so much?

A. “It definitely takes a lot of pressure off of me. Me and Drew talked about it. He wants me doing a lot more catching and shooting. Not creating so much until late in the game so I am not so worn down. I respect his opinion on anything. He is our head coach now. He is definitely going to make the right decisions.”

Q. Your agent said you planned to recruit other players. Any ideas on the guys you’d like to come play with you?

A. “(Laughs). We have to go out and see what is out there. Honestly, I think we have the team now we can win with. That’s no question. The last two years we have averaged 50 wins. We all know it’s time to step up and take it to the next level. I think with the team we’ve got right now we can do that.”

Q. Some fans still have hard feelings about your comments during the playoffs. It seems like that has contributed to some of the negative reaction to the news that the Hawks were offering you the contract. Now that some time has passed, do you have anything more to say about what happened?

A. “It was just in the heat of the moment. We had a tough battle against a great team in Orlando. I think I can speak for a lot of guys on the team [that] there was some frustrating moments. I was just really speaking out of frustration.”

Q. What would you say to the fans who are still mad about it?

A. “There is nothing I can do about it now. I just look forward to the season and getting out there and playing. This is my job; this is what I do. I am going to come out and try to have fun and hopefully change their minds.”

Q. There has been lots of criticism from media and fans around the league about your contract. Have you seen or heard it?

A. “Naw. Uh-uh.”

Q. There are lots of people saying it’s a bad deal for the Hawks. Does that bother you?

A. “There is nothing I can do. You have got to deal with it. You deal with the bad. It doesn’t bother me at all. I am going to still come out and do my job and be effective and do whatever it takes to win. You can’t worry about what people say about you. You have got to move on.”

Q. Do you feel added pressure to live up to the contract?

A. “Not at all. I don’t feel no pressure at all. All I have got to do is keep playing my game.”

MC

406 comments Add your comment

Fresh

July 8th, 2010
11:03 pm

ATLANTA SPIRIT/ RICK SUND,

THE FANS ARE WATCHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MAKE YOUR MOVE…NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Lynbird

July 8th, 2010
11:03 pm

First!!!!!!!!

JJ

July 8th, 2010
11:03 pm

First??….this is new for me….So since Lebron didnt take the money does that make “Joe Johnson” the highest paid player in the NBA??

Lynbird

July 8th, 2010
11:04 pm

Dooohhh!!!!!!

Master of the Obvious

July 8th, 2010
11:04 pm

Sign Chills, Sign Shaq and Tride Mike Bibby and Mo Evans

1st!!!!

Master of the Obvious

July 8th, 2010
11:05 pm

BigCaliDawg

July 8th, 2010
11:05 pm

Excuse me……..

I just threw up in my mouth……..

Master of the Obvious

July 8th, 2010
11:06 pm

Wow JJ highest paid player in th NBA for the next 6 years lol!!! But from an annual basis, that would be Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant.

Chip Shot

July 8th, 2010
11:09 pm

umm now we have to do better than pathetic shaq to be a contender. i mean CHRIS PAUL BETTER!
if not say adios to me as a hawk fan and say hello to 5 championships with the heat.

Melvin

July 8th, 2010
11:09 pm

Oh well, he got his money….

JJ

July 8th, 2010
11:10 pm

ok thanks…and i had a feeling he was just talking when he said he would recruit some free agents..thats BS when he said he thinks they win with the team they have now….ughh just straight Bull krap!!

Grandad

July 8th, 2010
11:11 pm

Very well spoken.

Section 303

July 8th, 2010
11:11 pm

I guess that was an apology for the fans that are still mad? Joe is not much of an interview.

I’m glad he is back. I guess I’m past the comments, but I still say he should get a swift kick in the balls for what he said. Anyways….let’s get on with the offseason and get some other players in here.

Already looking forward to beating the Heat when they first step foot in The Highlight Factory this season. Marki it down: Hawks beat Miami, whenever they first play at Philips.

Heat have replaced the Celtics as my least favorite team. Three headed douchebags….don’t know how anyone could be a fan of that team.

Jay Dubu

July 8th, 2010
11:11 pm

Wade, Bosh, and James are willing to take less money in order to allow the Heat to put together a team that can win, and here’s JJ taking max money, and he’s on par with Bosh, and not even close to Wade or James in talent.

The Hawks are keeping the same coaching staff except Woodson, and have added a new assistant, and the team makeup is the same, and JJ is saying they can win with this team.

Are you serious? Orlando blew them out of the 2nd round this year, and Cleveland last year. Does Woody’s absence make that big of a difference?!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

July 8th, 2010
11:12 pm

“He wants me doing a lot more catching and shooting. Not creating so much until late in the game so I am not so worn down.”

This is the thing of substance to take from Joe’s responses. Good to know that the offensive responsibility is going to be shared more under Drew.

Section 303

July 8th, 2010
11:12 pm

Grandad, you’re talking about Joe. No he isn’t.

Saint Richt

July 8th, 2010
11:12 pm

sad to see Joke Johnson here……………he will earn $21M at age 35, can’t help but laugh at that….I guess.

dooley

July 8th, 2010
11:13 pm

just when the hawks almost turn the corner, Lebron joins the same stinkin’ division.

I guess we should have never traded domonique.

Grandad

July 8th, 2010
11:14 pm

What else did you want him to say?

What else was there to say?

northcyde

July 8th, 2010
11:14 pm

Joe Cool tells it like it is.

Good interview by MC. Asked him all of the questions people wanted to know. And I’m so glad JJ didn’t apologize.

He’ll still be hated in ATL by those who already hate him though. And he realizes that there’s not much he can do about that. Just play your game JJ.

So a JJ that is a “catch and shoot” guy, may see his point totals go up, but his assists go down. If he’s going to catch and shoot more, I’d like to see that 3 point % up over 40%.

Good interview MC.

Jay Dubu

July 8th, 2010
11:14 pm

Chris Paul wants to play with James, Bosh and Wade. They discussed this (according to reports) during the most recent Olympic run.

Fresh

July 8th, 2010
11:17 pm

All I know is,

If the Hawks don’t make any moves, I’m signing my walking papers and joining Bron Bron & D. Wade in MIA!

Tori Thomas

July 8th, 2010
11:18 pm

Now that you are back in Atlanta, will you be more involved with interviews after games? I just want to see more comments from you regarding the wins or losses from the team. Since you have resigned with the Hawks, being in the range with Kobe Bryant (the black momma), will you step your game up to average what he’s averaging per game? I think if you do this the fans will forgive you for the comment you made during the play-offs. Now that you know LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat, how do you feel about that and your chances of making the play-offs again?

dstdeelite

July 8th, 2010
11:18 pm

JJ is a stubborn mofo! Lol….One thing is for sure, he’s consistent in his answers of not worrying about what people say about you, but he appears a tad delusional if he thinks we can win it all with the currently constructed roster.

Grandad

July 8th, 2010
11:19 pm

Joe is understated.
Joe is an introvert.
Neither of those two things are bad.
-AND-
Quit worrying about 6 years from now.
Let’s concern ourselves with Right Now!

Michael Cunningham

July 8th, 2010
11:20 pm

@ Sec 303: “I guess that was an apology for the fans that are still mad?”

noticed that, huh? i gave him two openings to say he was sorry or express some kind of regret but he didn’t. that’s not to say he doesn’t regret it–i think he does–but it just seems like he thinks it won’t make a difference to say so.

MistaGamer

July 8th, 2010
11:21 pm

MC… I wish you would have asked him the following, “By taking the max deal, do you feel that negatively affects the teams with the financial ability to improve the team any further? In other words, is it just about the extra $30 million the team could offer without looking at the affect it has on fielding a better team going forward?”

Now if you would have asked that I would have given you the crown.

Chip Shot

July 8th, 2010
11:22 pm

@Fresh
“All I know is,

If the Hawks don’t make any moves, I’m signing my walking papers and joining Bron Bron & D. Wade in MIA!”

i speak on behalf of hawks nation when i say “I’M WITH YOU!!!!”

Willy

July 8th, 2010
11:23 pm

You’d think that a $120 million contract would buy an apology to the fans. Now he really doesn’t care whether or not we show up.

Section 303

July 8th, 2010
11:23 pm

Michael, I did notice. And, really, someone should tell him that it would make a difference. He has to have better advisers than that, right? This stuff is not that hard.

Still a lot of people in this town that hate him. He needs to be mindful of that. A simple “I’m sorry” would go a long ways.

Bobb

July 8th, 2010
11:23 pm

Please get shaq in here because we can win a championship this year. He knows how to win and lead a team to the title. Now that means Josh Smith may have to come off the beach but to win a championship; he should not mine. I know that Shaq is not the same Shaq but he can bring leadership to this team that needs someone who can keep their focus on the pizes. Now that also, means that Mavin will have to give us more this year. But Josh will do what ever is best for this team to win and I know AL will to. Now if we have Shaq to lead them by just taking up space; this will give the Joe, Bib, AL, and even Smith more room to work.

UGA

July 8th, 2010
11:24 pm

Glad we signed Joe. If we did not, we would be fighting just to MAKE the playoffs. I wish people would remember not too long ago this team won 13 GAMES!

Section 303

July 8th, 2010
11:26 pm

dstdeelite, I don’t agree with you. I think Joe does care about what people say. I watched him pivot and make a dash for the bench when he was taken out of game 4 against Orlando. He couldn’t get off the floor fast enough.

Kind of like Josh Smith claiming he doesn’t hear the fans groan when he shoots jumpers. Allow me to be the first to call bullsh#t. No way he does not hear that stuff. And, no way Joe is just totally uncaring about what people say. Don’t buy that for a second.

JeJe

July 8th, 2010
11:26 pm

Way to ask him if he considered taking less money to help get other FA’s.

So he had no plans on recruiting FA’s and feels that Bibby and Marvin will help us get there. LOL!

What a moron

JeJe

July 8th, 2010
11:28 pm

THIS WHOLE FRONT OFFICE IS DELUSIONAL. U DONT WIN RINGS BY KEEPING THE SAME STARTING LINEUP 4 YEARS IN A ROW

TRADE MARVIN AND BIBBY FOR A PG, SIGN BARNES AND SHAQ.

RING IN 2011

dstdeelite

July 8th, 2010
11:33 pm

@ Section 303…I didn’t say he meant what he said. I said he was consistent in his answers. I’m not buying it either. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have lashed out at the fans.

Grandad

July 8th, 2010
11:33 pm

MC

I was fine with what he said.
He explained.
Succinct.
What more do we need.
We don’t want him to cry do we?
I get it…let’s have an *intervention.
*Tongue in cheek*
For pity sake.
Let’s move on.
He’s here, he’s a Hawk, now let’s go.

Harry Hawk

July 8th, 2010
11:35 pm

What’s wrong with Joe saying something like this:

“I shouldn’t have gone off on the fans. That was a mistake. It was the heat of the moment. We were terrible in that series. Everyone could see that. The fans didn’t deserve to be ripped. They had every right to boo us. It’s our job to make them cheer. I was angry and said something stupid. I’m sorry for that. I’m looking forward to making it up to them this season.”

I mean, is it that hard? He’s going to be cashing some even mightier checks now. It’s a shame that the guy couldn’t do that.

Harry Hawk

July 8th, 2010
11:37 pm

It’s true that he gave us some of that, but the easiest way to defuse the situation is to give the fans props for not settling for crappy play. It makes fans feel like they saw what they saw.

Harpie

July 8th, 2010
11:37 pm

The best move the Hawks could possibly make was getting rid of that stinking coach – he’s the one who held them back last season. Unless Drew is as big an idiot as Woodson, the Hawks will do better this season, even if they have virtually the same roster.

Gainesville#1

July 8th, 2010
11:38 pm

The heat are going to be a great team and fun to watch. Call me crazy but out of all of the teams in the nba, I think there is only one that matches up good with their big three. H.A.W.K.S. I just wish they would upgrade the point guard position.

Harry Hawk

July 8th, 2010
11:39 pm

And we all know we saw what we saw, right? If we don’t all know that we saw what we sure thought we saw when we saw it, what did we really see?

(I wish Joe would have said something like that. I’d like to read it. It’s better than LeBron talking about “LeBron doing this” and “LeBron doing that.” Is LeBron really that hung up on himself?)

The Dreamer 3K

July 8th, 2010
11:42 pm

In defense of Joe. I’m a Hawks fan and he owes me no apology. When asked about booing fans, he said he didn’t care and he hoped his team didn’t care, he could care less about whether they came or not. Those statements in their proper context evidence precisely the attitude he should have.

His duty is to play as hard and as well as he can for every minute he’s on the floor and to help put his team in position to win. Whether the fans come or don’t come; whether they boo or cheer; whether the fans love him or hate him. His duty remains the same. If a professional athlete needs/wants the fan adoration to motivate him to do his job, as a fan, I’ve got no use for him.

He was humiliated at his and his team’s performance and he wanted to perform better and win. Not because the fans booed him, but because of the duty he owed himself and his team. Or as stated more concisely by a noted philosopher, “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME, HELLO!

Fans or no fans.

niremetal

July 8th, 2010
11:43 pm

Timbo

July 8th, 2010
11:44 pm

Joe Johnson is a tool. A public apology should have been part of his contract. That is the least he could have done for $125 MILLION . . .

He also laughed at the notion of him recruiting some free agents. That definitely proves that it was just “agent speak” . . .

The Spirit Group definitely shouldn’t be considered cheap anymore. But they have definitely earned the knock of being stupid; especially after they just got taken for $125 MILLION by a player who hasn’t earned it . . .

LeWade Bosh

July 8th, 2010
11:45 pm

MC:

Any substance to those Chris Paul trade rumors?

Chip Shot

July 8th, 2010
11:47 pm

hey MC did you ask specifically who JOE BLOW was trying to recruit? if its matt barnes we have no shot at winning 45 games next year

Harry Hawk

July 8th, 2010
11:47 pm

Great letter by Gilbert. Awesomeness.

Timbo

July 8th, 2010
11:52 pm

That Gilbert letter (if not a hack) is definitely awesome . . .

Clyde

July 8th, 2010
11:52 pm

I lost credibility for the the NBA this summer.