The critics talk about his age (29 this summer), the percentage of possessions he uses, (17th in players playing 30+ minutes in usage), and that he's not a truly elite player. Which is why many feel that you can get Johnson for solid value and then pick up another star. After all, that paradigm's been gaining steam what with the conversations about Wade and James attempting to play together. Why get one superstar when you can have two?
Joe Johnson, for one, isn't getting wrapped up in all that nonsense.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune after the Hawks' win over the Bulls Friday, Johnson talked about his situation coming up in July. Naturally he said all the things you'd expect, about him not thinking about July, concentrating on this season and this Hawks team's chances in the playoffs (which look better each day), and how he'll look at it when the time comes. But specifically in consideration of the possibility of a superhero-team-up, Johnson had this to say:
"It's possible for a team to do that, but that's nothing I think about when I think about my decision,"It's a pretty innocuous comment, so forgive me for reading into it. But Johnson's intentions should be considered as every team approaches the trade deadline with movable pieces, debating between salary dumps and player upgrades. Johnson not being involved in talks about teaming up with a superstar not only impacts future planning, but also provides some insight into Johnson himself.
Johnson left Phoenix, a contender, to go to Atlanta, at the time a disaster, mostly over money and business problems with Suns' management. He's flourished there, and was a monumental part of the Hawks' success the last three seasons (he got his own NBA "Where Amazing Happens' commercial, after all). Now he finds himself faced with whether to abandon another team. But what does Johnson want? Going down that road is pointless, but knowing what he's not looking at does give us some insight. Meanwhile, the Hawks are a half game out of the second overall seed and are fielding their best team of the decade, with young talented stars in Al Horford and Josh Smith, along with promising rookie Jeff Teague. Johnson's already said winning will factor into the decision. There's always talk of the big free agents opting to resign. Johnson would have to be included in that group, if it weren't for two things. One, Johnson already declined the extension the Hawks offered. And two, well, if anyone's done a good job of keeping his decision making process opaque to the rest of us, it's Joe Johnson.