Joe Johnson may wait to make final decision

Joe Johnson gets it. He has a max offer from the Hawks on the table, but hasn’t agreed to sign it just yet. He wants to see which big-name free agents land where, to see if there’s a secondary or tertiary role for him on a championship contender.

Sources said Johnson was still considering whether it would be a better career move to play in New York or Chicago, and his ultimate decision would hinge upon which of the top free agents make commitments to those teams.

Johnson’s decision is this — would he rather be the best player on a good-but-not-great Atlanta team or the second- or third-best player on a Finals-caliber team?

Maybe he’s reading the LeBron/Wade tea leaves and realizes that LeBron’s ego may not accept the perception that he needed Wade to win a title. Johnson is the next-best shooting guard on the market, and would be a decent fit alongside LeBron in New York, New Jersey or Chicago.

Writers like to throw around the phrase “leaving $30 million on the table” when referring to home/away max contracts, but that number is misleading. Through the first five years of the deal, the difference is ‘only’ $4 million. It’s that (extra) sixth year that makes up most of the difference in the total value of the contract, but players would presumably still be able to re-sign for a good amount of money. So really, the difference in the home/away contracts is this:

Diff = $4 million + $25.3 million – E


E = expected value of first year of next contract

For a player like Johnson, who would be 33 after the final year of a five-year contract, the value of E would be quite a bit less than someone like LeBron, who would be 30 after the final year of a five-year deal. Assuming both players stay healthy, Johnson would be leaving more money on the table than LeBron would by signing a max deal with an away team.

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