Joe Johnson leaving if Hawks lose?

In a recent chat, John Hollinger had this to say about the chances of Johnson returning to Atlanta if the Hawks were to lose the series to the Bucks.

Is Joe Johnson gone if the Hawks lose?
John Hollinger: I suspect so, just because it makes it so much harder for Atlanta to sell its management on operating at the tax line when the club is losing so much dough.

The series is a long way from over, but it’s an interesting question to ponder. Hollinger takes it from the angle of ownership not wanting to pony up for Johnson when the Hawks can’t even beat a Milwaukee Bucks team that is missing its best player.

That’s a legitimate question, but Johnson is a top five free agent this summer, do the Hawks really just let him walk? He was outplayed by John Salmons in Game 5, so he may need to come up big in Game 6 and lead the Hawks to a series win if he hopes to get a max offer from Atlanta.

The other perspective on this question is from Johnson’s point of view. Would he want to stay with a team that couldn’t get out of the first round despite suspect opposition? He may be ready for a fresh start after a semi-frustrating few years in Atlanta.

If the Hawks do indeed lose the series, it will be a big disappointment for a franchise and a fan base that was expecting at least an appearance in the Eastern Conference semis, maybe even an upset of the Magic an appearance in the conference finals. Given the turmoil surrounding the franchise’s ownership in recent seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s a serious shakeup in the roster if the Hawks do exit the postseason in the first round.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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