July is nearly here, which means … well, you know what. According to Ian Thomsen of SI.com, it means the New York Knicks will seek to construct an NBA champion by signing half the big name free agents, Joe Johnson among them. But not, we must point out, chief among them.
The Knicks, Thomsen writes, are looking to land Johnson and either Chris Bosh or Amar’e Stoudemire and also LeBron James. And here we pause to ponder: Would Joe, accustomed to taking nearly every big shot, consent to becoming a third option? Would he take significantly less money — Thomsen says New York plans to offer the three big names a base salary of $11.5; Johnson made $14 million as a Hawk last season — to become a ride-along?
I can’t envision it. For all the discussion about free agent “summits” and package deals, I still believe the driving forces for these men are money and ego, not necessarily in that order. And if you’re good enough to be offered a maximum contract — the Hawks can throw $20 million per season at Johnson — would you really take substantially less to shoot less?
Again, I can’t see it. But we should know something soon enough. The Knicks, reports Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, are poised to meet with Johnson in Los Angeles after free agency commences at midnight tonight — before they officially visit LeBron.