Joe Johnson Staying with Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta hawks star Joe Johnson has agreed to re-sign to the team, accepting the six-year, $119 million deal that the Hawks pitched to him on July 1, according to his agent Arn Tellem.

Many Hawks fans, as well as NBA fans that could care less about the Hawks, have been scratching there heads.

Is Joe Johnson worth a maximum contract?

In his eight years in the league Johnson has averaged 17.6 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Johnson started in each of the 76 games he played in last season. He averaged 21.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds.

There is no doubt that Johnson can put up solid numbers every night. The problem is that he seems incapable of taking a team to the next level by himself.

Even though the Hawks have improved their record each year that Johnson has been there they haven’t advanced as far in the playoffs as they had hoped.

Johnson had a solid showing in the first round of the playoffs, averaging 20.9 points, 5.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game but it took the Hawks seven games to put away a young Milwaukee Bucks team.

What is even more concerning is Johnson’s performance in the second round of the playoffs against the Orlando Magic. Johnson’s numbers took a hit in almost every category except turnovers. His scoring dropped down to 12.8 ppg as Johnson shot 29.8 percent from the field. The Hawks were dismantled and didn’t even record a win the series.

Is it fair to judge Johnson on the fact that the Hawks have been put out the second round of the playoffs two consecutive years in a row, considering the fact that Chris Bosh, another player that will probably sign a max contract this off-season, couldn’t even get his Raptors into the 2010 post-season?

Is it fair to say that the 29-year-old Joe Johnson will only get worse, instead of having his best seasons in his 30s like two-time MVP Steve Nash (highly unlikely)?

Unfair or not, Joe Johnson never was and never will be worth a max contract from any NBA team. This is what happens when a decent team desperately avoids becoming an awful team.

However, the Hawks may still be interested in performing a sign and trade deal to acquire a big name free agent.

As Tellem’s blog hinted: “LeBron, you’ve already met with the front offices of six teams. How about considering the Hawks?”


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