Joe Johnson Agrees to Hawks' Max Offer
FanHouse's Sam Amick reported Saturday that Johnson was prepared to end his consideration of the Knicks and accept the Hawks' lucrative offer. In his post, Tellem said Johnson also considered the Bulls.
J.J.'s maximum-value deal is the biggest contract in Hawks history, eclipsing the first deal Johnson signed with Atlanta in 2005, worth $67.3 million. Johnson, who recently turned 29, rejoins a Hawks team which was taken to a full seven by the upstart Milwaukee Bucks before bowing out in a humiliating sweep to the Magic in the playoffs. In the Orlando series, J.J. averaged 12 points on 29 percent shooting, three assists and four rebounds a game. The Hawks lost by an average margin of 20 points.
The question going forward is whether the Hawks will be able to upgrade the roster under the heft of Johnson's salary. Many believe the Hawks need to add a center to allow Al Horford to play power forward and Josh Smith to move to small forward. Marvin Williams, who signed a five-year, $38 million extension last summer, currently mans the small forward position for Atlanta. Regardless of where the Hawks upgrade, having been swept in the second round two straight years indicates the need for additional talent.
Jeff Teague, who played sparingly as a rookie, is expected to supplant aging Mike Bibby in the starting lineup. Jamal Crawford, the NBA's reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is the third guard in the Hawks rotation. Atlanta also added shooting guard Jordan Crawford in this year's draft.
With J.J.'s contract, the Hawks are over the cap for this summer. Horford is eligible for an extension to his rookie-scale deal, though such an extension wouldn't begin until the 2011-12 season.