Winning Will Factor Into Joe Johnson's Decision
Let's just say New Jersey isn't exactly the odds-on favorite in the Joe Johnson sweepstakes.
The Atlanta star guard, bound to be a free agent next summer, was asked in an interview with FanHouse before Wednesday's game against New Jersey if it would be more difficult to sign with a team like the 3-32 Nets due to their record. Johnson agreed it would.
"It matters, man,'' Johnson said before facing a New Jersey outfit that will have more than $20 million of salary-cap room next summer. "It matters. A lot comes into play. Nobody wants to go to a tough team. But you've got to keep everybody in consideration.''
Before facing a team that will have a lot of cap room next summer, Johnson said he doesn't do anything differently. The Hawks, who lost to New York 112-108 last Friday in overtime, played their second straight home game against a team in line to have big bucks available.
"I just go out and play every game the same,'' said Johnson, who is averaging 21.5 points and had 20 in the 119-89 rout of New Jersey at Philips Arena. "I try to have fun and play my heart out.''
While Johnson will be one of the most coveted free agents next summer, teammates sure hope he re-signs with the Hawks.
"I think Joe knows we all love having him here,'' said guard Jamal Crawford. "He's been a special player, and he's been the main component in everything that's going to happen here. So we all understand that, and we hope that he's here. ... I hope (Johnson will stay). He's never hinted otherwise. So I hope he's here.''
At least teammates can take comfort in Johnson not being enthralled with New Jersey's place in the standings.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson