If Joe Johnson exits the Hawks, would you be OK with that?

Would Joe follow the bouncing ball out of town? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Would Joe Johnson follow the bouncing ball out of town? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

I’m going to the Hawks game with Dallas tonight — and we’ll have our usual live chat, so please join in! – but I wanted to broach this topic. I keep hearing that, of all the big-name free agents who come on the market this summer, Joe Johnson is the most apt to change clubs. (Everyone seems to think JJ has interest in going to Chicago to become the new MJ.) And I’m wondering: How would you feel if he did?

There has been, I submit, something of a Joe Backlash this season. (I’ve contributed to it, I’ll admit.) The Hawks’ best player has been scrutinized in a way he hasn’t before, which is what happens when a bad team gets good: First you see the promise, and then you start picking nits. But he’s still their best player, and there’s really no way, at least as I see it, to fill his spot if he takes some other team’s money.

LeBron James isn’t coming here. Neither is Kobe Bryant. Neither is Dwyane Wade. Chris Bosh might, I suppose, but I don’t know where he’d play. (Bosh at power forward would mean Josh Smith moves to small forward, and do you want him on the perimeter with a greater license to hoist jump shots?) Losing Johnson wouldn’t be tantamount to starting over — the Hawks do have a talent base — but it would mean retrenching. And this team is too close to something big to take even a baby step backward.

That’s how I see it. You might well have a different opinion. That’s why we have that little white “comment” box below. Please avail yourself freely, and I’ll be back early this evening. And I thank you in advance.

89 comments Add your comment

Ezekiel

February 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

Ezekiel

February 26th, 2010
3:33 pm

Now that I’m first, may as well comment. ;) One thing that would be refreshing if Joe left is to see the team actually run an offense the last 2 minutes of the game rather than having everyone stand around while Joe goes 1 on 1. The Hawks will never be a great team that can actually contend until they come up with something superior to the “stand around and watch Joe” 2-minute offense. Mark, what say you?

PMC

February 26th, 2010
3:36 pm

Earlier this year I would have said yes. But I’m not sure they can find a better 2 guard honestly. I think the biggest issue with the Hawks and it’s a recurring theme is finding a true difference making point guard. Not to revise history or anything but Marvin Williams over Chris Paul is the difference between being a middling eastern conference team and being a powerhouse.

Right now they are a really great PG/combo guard away from contending for a championship if they can retain Joe’s services.

Reggie

February 26th, 2010
3:37 pm

Joe is not going anywhere! This is his team,

PMC

February 26th, 2010
3:37 pm

I just wish Joe could be more consistant. Other than him though who is really feared on this team?

I want it to be Josh Smith but I’m not quite sure he’s there YET.

EW

February 26th, 2010
3:38 pm

Haven’t read the article but to answer the headline, no…I like Joe…also depends on who we get back for him of course.

allan in texas

February 26th, 2010
3:39 pm

I would just like to know if he has a good relationship with management so if he does decide to leave then the hawks could get something done in a sign and trade as opposed to him walking away and getting nothing in return.

EW

February 26th, 2010
3:40 pm

Enjoy the game and the weekend MB. Thanks for getting me thru another work week.

Montgomery Burns

February 26th, 2010
3:42 pm

At first I would be in denial, then I would be angry, then I would be depressed, then, finally, I would be OK with that. Then I would have nachos.

Brent

February 26th, 2010
3:42 pm

I agree with what PMC said..”Right now they are a really great PG/combo guard away from contending for a championship if they can retain Joe’s services.”

Joe has been carrying the hawks on his back for along time now. The knicks are going to come at him strong and they will have deep pockets….

NOTSO FAST

February 26th, 2010
3:43 pm

Enter your comments here

Dawg Fan in Grayson

February 26th, 2010
3:44 pm

Ezekiel stole a little of my thunder. While I really like Joe and he is a great player sometimes I feel like his presence causes the offense to really slow down especially at the end of the game. If we do not have him back next year we have to replace him with a all star-type player. I would prefer a small forward to go with Crawford at the SG.

EW

February 26th, 2010
3:46 pm

To those who’ve mentioned Joe at the end of games…It goes right to the point the others have made about the lack of a difference maker at PG. If we had that, we could give our PG the ball at the end of the game and let him create, distribute, run the offense, etc. As it stands, JJ is our best bet at the end of the game.

ELVISINTHEHOUSE.

February 26th, 2010
3:48 pm

My gut feeling is that joe turned down that 68mil(I think that sum is right)because of woody not being offered another contract ext.He’s probably waiting for the outcome to see if woody stays and if not who comes in.So saying that considering he’s a FA after this season,i would have traded him to miami along with marvin and bibby and got(BIG IF)wade.If he do leaves,that leaves the hawks with nothing anyway.

Ted M

February 26th, 2010
3:49 pm

don’t you think we could win a title if Wade came here? wouldn’t Wade think that too? can the hawks offer a max contract to someone? would JJ have to settle for less to stay here?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 26th, 2010
3:51 pm

They have to keep JJ he is one of few legitimate stars , he might not be flashy but he does produce night in and night out . keep him add another peice or two of role players and move on to the something special. by the way Mark this will be my first live blog at a hawks game tonight I have already put it on my calendar so keep up the great work

Buzz

February 26th, 2010
3:54 pm

Sure, the younger players can step up and we can use the extra $ to deepen the bench and just run people into the dirt.

Ree Roe

February 26th, 2010
3:57 pm

I’d hate it if he did leave so I hope in the event that he does leave, we have a backup plan. I think it’s delusional to hope Joe leaves just so we wouldn’t run Iso Joe anymore. Joe is one of the elite SG’s in basketball…outside of DWade & snitchy (Kobe), noone can replace him at that position for us.

Sidenote, Mark, I heard you on the radio on 790 today. Good job. I really hope the extra sensitive Tech coach can stop being so sensitive long enough to see what you were actually trying to write. Keep doing your job Mark. You’re as fair & skilled a writer as the AJC has.

-REEturn of the Roe!!!

Gilley

February 26th, 2010
3:58 pm

Despite Joe’s inconsistencies at times, it would bother me if he left. He is the best all-around player we have but he still is not the SUPERSTAR player we want him to be…..

khao$

February 26th, 2010
4:02 pm

No, I wouldn’t be okay with it because we wouldn’t be able to bring in a comparable talent. We can pay Joe anything, but we can’t pay his replacement anything more than 10 million. And if we went the sign and trade route, we’d have to bring in some other teams garbage. But then again, if a team has the cap space, they won’t have to do a sign and trade; they could sign him outright. We need to keep Joe, bottomline. If we can’t we should have traded him at the deadline.

blord

February 26th, 2010
4:05 pm

Heard a interview on “The Herd” today with Robert Horry. He said when Joe played in the West that he was the second best 2guard in the West behind Bryant. I hope he stays ant the Hawks continue to move forward.

COON DAWG

February 26th, 2010
4:06 pm

Package deal on this one. Woody and Joe stays with the “ISO JOE” or new coach and Crawford at the 2 actually running an offensive set play. What a novelty that would be.

EW

February 26th, 2010
4:06 pm

I’d hate it if Joe left because I think our team has come together since he’s been here. Josh has matured into a player that understands his role, something I am surprised by. Joe is a quiet leader and the definition of a PRO. Leaving ATL would affect more than just the points per game he takes with him.

Hawkman

February 26th, 2010
4:09 pm

Joe is a great player, and they will not net up if he leaves….they will net down. So I think it’s real important to keep him for the team to move forward positively. all the banter about his one-on-one at end of games is silly…I think he’s running what Woody is calling, so if you’re going to fault Joe, point the finger elsewhere where it belongs…for a guy who has hit more than his fair share of big buckets he gets way too much criticism…I think the real issue is money and the fairly apathetic fan base here…

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 26th, 2010
4:10 pm

JJ needs to stay add a few more role players so the bench can produce (other than crawford) maybe a coaching upgrade if possible and make a run at a title finally.
should have traded for the little guy that boston got and tried him out at point.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
4:11 pm

The Hawks should do what they have to to re-sign Joe Johnson. As MB mentioned, it isn’t likely that the Hawks will be able to convince any of the other big name free agents to sign for next season.

J.J. is a difference maker night in, and night out. Think of how much better the Hawks are with him than they would be without him. They are finally in a position to realistically challenge for a conference title. If they want to have a realistic shot at the league championship then they not only need to re-sign Joe, but also find a more traditional type center (a 7-ft tall center) and slide Al Horford and Josh Smith down to the 4 and 3 slots, respectively.

COON DAWG

February 26th, 2010
4:11 pm

Anybody remember the Miami HOME game before the break. Stagnent offense with Crawford missing, not Joe.

chasjons

February 26th, 2010
4:11 pm

We’d be in big trouble losing JJ unless we found a suitable replacement which I’m guessing would be difficult. Without a drive and dish point guard (unless Teague gets playing time and matures) we’ll have to have someone that can score on his own as JJ can and who creates double teams. I’d hate to see our team without JJ.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
4:14 pm

The Hawks should do what they have to do to re-sign Joe Johnson. As MB mentioned, it isn’t likely that the Hawks will be able to convince any of the other big name free agents to sign for next season.

J.J. is a difference maker night in, and night out. Think of how much better the Hawks are with him than they would be without him. They are finally in a position to realistically challenge for a conference title. If they want to have a realistic shot at the league championship then they not only need to re-sign Joe, but also find a more traditional type center (a 7-ft tall center) and slide Al Horford and Josh Smith down to the 4 and 3 slots, respectively.

Rich Mckay

February 26th, 2010
4:21 pm

Absolutely ok with me. JJ is a great player don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t fit into the Hawks system. Its slow down iso all the time with that guy. Sure we would need to find another good player to bring back, but that player could be a 5, 2, or 1. Besides anyone that says the hawks need him in the clutch dont watch the games. JJ turns the ball over almost everytime he works for a last second iso shot or he misses badly. Give Crawford the last shot…so long Joe

Hawkeye

February 26th, 2010
4:21 pm

Get Lebron,Wade and Bosh ..The hawks would still lose because we have a stupid punk coach!
Fire him ..Teague isnt getting his minutes, Marvin Williams might be his boyfriend because he is still in the starting lineup and hes been ridiculously bad the whole season, he cannot rotate his men during the 4th quarter where we lose all our games then…it just goes on.

let joe WALK

February 26th, 2010
4:29 pm

Joe isnt worth what hes asking for…the Hawks need 2 things to become elite…

1. A center, people come on Al is good but he is 6 ft 8, and Josh is 6ft 7, we are 2 small

2.A coach

Ted M

February 26th, 2010
4:34 pm

if 10 mil is all we have to offer a non hawk free agent by all means keep him.

Ree Roe

February 26th, 2010
4:35 pm

@ Rich McKay, I’m guessin you didn’t watch Joe vs. Utah this week or against BOS the last time we played them. It AMAZES me that people think Jamal could just step in & fill Joe’s shoes. Jamal is nowhere near as good a defender Joe is, he’s not as good a rebounder or as good a facilitator on offense. Jamal is a scorer. No more, no less. We need both to be successful, but if I had to choose b/w the 2, I’d take Joe in a second.

-REElatively Roe!!!

james

February 26th, 2010
4:39 pm

I have a question what was really the worst draft mistake for the hawks, Marvin Williams over Chris Paul or Sheldon williams over Brandon Roy?

Terrell

February 26th, 2010
4:40 pm

For those pushing for Jamal Crawford, he’s a good player but there has been a reason he was the best player on non-playoff teams. We saw what happens when he can’t score we don’t get anything from him. At least when JJ can’t score he plays defense and gets others involve. Jamal is great as a backup but he would be average as a starter and the only go to guy.

CJ

February 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

Given that the ASG couldn’t keep Kovy in town, I’m not very optimistic about their ability to persuade Joe to stay. Give me Michael Redd and I say we’re okay.

hawksfan5

February 26th, 2010
4:43 pm

I think Joe has to stay. Were not going to get anyone even close to his talent. We would still have Jamal but then we become even less of a deep team. If the hawks are gonna win, Joe Johnson has to be in the line up.

Also i think the problem to our point gaurd situation is teague getting hardly any minutes. Hes got huge potential and he just needs playing time. When he gets in he makes things happen.We will get know where with Bibbys old ass bringing the ball up the court. I love him but its true.

Greg

February 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

Get DARRREN COLLISON of the Hornets. When Chris Paul comes back in March, he won’t start. Dudes been dropping 20pts and 10 a per game

hawksfan5

February 26th, 2010
4:50 pm

Also we will go know where with Coach Woodson. He is a dumbass and its some of the points and joes falt at the end of the game but not too much, it is Woodson.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 26th, 2010
4:52 pm

Joe is not perfect, but he’s a very good player. The only reason I would be OK with him leaving is if Dwyane Wade was his replacement.

Conyers Hawk

February 26th, 2010
4:54 pm

Mark: I thought your statement that the Hawks are “so close to becoming something big” is very interesting. If by chance, JJ does stay what is your time line for the team becoming big? In the East they have the Magic and Cavaliers ahead of them but cannot match up with these teams now.

Ree Roe

February 26th, 2010
4:58 pm

lol @ getting Michael Redd & thinking we’d be ok. I really have read every nonsensical Hawks “improvement” suggestion.

-REEady for Roe!!!

JB

February 26th, 2010
5:00 pm

Mark,

Was that you on 790 the zone this morning? Sounded like you just woke up…

F-105 Thunderchief

February 26th, 2010
5:06 pm

He is imminently replaceable. He’s no LeBron, Kobe, etc.

CapedCrusader

February 26th, 2010
5:06 pm

If Joe were to leave the Hawks, people would begin to realize just how “Great” he is. The last time the Hawks had a Hall of Fame player, his name was Dominique Wilkins. Joe is good enough to make the Hall of Fame. Whats sad is that the majority of hawk fans, including the majority of the media dont realize just how great Joes skills are because he accomplishes what he does without a lot of fanfare that it seems his skills are almost invisible. When the Hawks took Boston to 7 games in the playoffs a couple of years ago, it was Joe Johnson who bailed out the Hawks and enabled that to happen. If you took Joe Johnson away from that team that battled Boston in the playoffs to 7 games, the Hawks undoubtedly would have gotten SWEPTS 4 games to nothing in that series. Because Joe was in the series, the Hawks pushed the Celtics (the eventual champions) to seven games. It wouldnt have happened without Joe. Joe, in my opinion, is the fourth best player in the game today behind D-Wade, Kobe and Labron. Always know that the Great Ones are ALWAYS referred to by ONE Name. ie., Tiger, Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc. Joe is in that class. The fact that the Hawks are now among the NBAs elite is because Joe was patient to wait for the talent to come to alanta and develop. Now that the Hawks have a star-studded lineup, the non-basketball dummies want Joe to leave. Joe should be rewarded by hanging around and waiting through the lean years and now to the good years with the championship. i believe the Hawks will win the crown this year and that will solidify Joe as a superstar. Until the Hawks win the title, people will look at Joe as “Just an ordinary Joe.” When the Hawks win the title this June, Joe will be considered among the NBAs all-time greats. Thankfully, were only three months away from that happening.

Mash

February 26th, 2010
5:12 pm

Depends on how much money. I wouldn’t pay him anymore than we offered him and he already turned that down. Joe is good, but he’s not great. In the NBA, the biggest mistake teams make is paying a second banana first tier money (or 3rd banana 2nd tier money). Giving a good player like Joe franchise money could cripple a team for years.

We’d be better off working a sign-and-trade with NY and taking back a David Lee/Galineri combo or something.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
5:14 pm

That was me. And that’s just how I sound, JB.

dap01

February 26th, 2010
5:15 pm

Trade Bibby for any point guard, let Teague play, trade ZaZa, sign Hayward as a free agent from Dallas, resign JJ, upgrade at coach.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
5:16 pm

Been in meetings — actually, conversations — at the ol’ AJC for a while now, so I’m just catching up. But I would agree that Jamal Crawford, who’s an outstanding player, isn’t quite Joe Johnson. The Hawks with Crawford starting — and no Crawford off the bench — wouldn’t be nearly as good.