Joe Johnson says he’ll “sacrifice” to play with LeBron in NYC

Joe Johnson was asked about his free agent plans after the Hawks’ game against the Knicks, and here’s what he had to say

The inquisition of Joe Johnson began at about 6:20 p.m. ET, lasted approximately 10 minutes and yielded the following nugget:

If a certain someone, like maybe this certain guy in Cleveland, accepted a max offer from the Knicks and wanted Johnson as a sidekick, Johnson would be willing to sign for less than the maximum.

“I’ll sacrifice,” Johnson said.

Those words will carry some weight as we head toward July 1, 2010, because there aren’t a whole lot of max-level free agents out there who are willing to go on the record saying they’ll sacrifice money if it translates into success on the court.

But Johnson went ahead and said it Monday, and given the fact that he turned down a five-year max contract extension from the Atlanta Hawks last summer, that statement ranks as an eyebrow-raiser.

Chris Sheridan goes on to speculate about what the Knicks might do if Plan A (LeBron) and Plan B (D-Wade) both fail. How about a Bosh/Johnson or a Stoudemire/Johnson combo in NYC?

While LeBron, Wade and Bosh are all playing coy about their free agency plans, Johnson is refreshingly honest about all the possibilities. Considering that he’s playing for one of the top teams in the East, it’s an interesting way to go.

A LeBron/JJ combo in New York probably isn’t going to happen. I have a feeling that LeBron will only go to the Knicks if he knows he’s going to play with Wade or Bosh. Usually championships are built around one excellent perimeter player and one excellent big man — think Kobe-Shaq, Parker-Duncan, Wade-Shaq — but Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did make the 2/3 combo work very well in Chicago, though MJ made a living in the post. LeBron doesn’t like to play with his back to the basket.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Joe Johnson to the Nets? Not so fast.

First things first: Joe Johnson will become a free agent this summer and there’s a decent chance he’ll re-sign with the Hawks.

But he was asked (in an interview with FanHouse) about joining the Nets, and this is what he had to say:

The Atlanta star guard, bound to be a free agent next summer, was asked in an interview with FanHouse before Wednesday’s game against New Jersey if it would be more difficult to sign with a team like the 3-32 Nets due to their record. Johnson agreed it would.

“It matters, man,” Johnson said before facing a New Jersey outfit that will have more than $20 million of salary-cap room next summer. “It matters. A lot comes into play. Nobody wants to go to a tough team. But you’ve got to keep everybody in consideration.”

Johnson might be the forgotten man in a 2010 free agent class that features bigger names like LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh and Amare. While he hasn’t said that he’s leaving Atlanta, he’s talking openly about potentially signing elsewhere, so he may very well be on the move.

As for the Nets, he’d be a great fit with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. But all stars of his caliber want to contend, and the Nets are struggling now more than they probably should. Ideally, he’d like to be the missing piece to a team that would contend for a championship, not just make the postseason.

Of course, a lot can change over the next few months. The Nets could start playing .500 ball or they could end up with the #1 pick in the draft and the rights to John Wall. That would change everything.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

NBA News & Rumors: Delonte, LeBron, JJ and Julian

Delonte West misses practice (unexcused) again. All right, one unexcused absence I can understand, but after he was MIA yesterday, wouldn’t the Cavs track him down to find out why he was absent? Of course they would, which is why he is either completely unreachable or the Cavs don’t approve of his reasons for missing practice. This is worrisome, but expect the team to give him a lot of leeway to get his life straightened out.

The New York Daily News thinks there has been another sign that LeBron is headed to the Knicks.
His name is William Wesley and apparently he has LeBron’s ear. He was at Knicks camp this week and some conspiracy theorists believe his presence is a sign that LeBron will be playing in New York next season.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Joe Johnson will not sign an extension this season.
Instead, Johnson is going to become a free agent next summer when a number of teams are going to have the cap space to offer a max deal. After LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and (maybe) Amare Stoudemire, Johnson is the next biggest prize in the free agent class of 2010. He’s one of those players that isn’t quite worth a max deal but he’s going to get one anyway. (Think Michael Redd circa 2005.)

Byron Scott told the Times-Picayune that the Hornets’ starting small forward job is Julian Wright’s to lose.
This is about a year too late. Wright was quite productive (PER: 15.48) in his rookie season, but the Hornets went with James Posey instead, thinking that he’d be the missing piece to the championship puzzle. Wright is one of those young, talented players that is going to see a big increase in minutes, so fantasy basketball owners should take note.

Who will have cap space in 2010?

ESPN’s Chad Ford lists nine teams that will have significant cap space next summer. [Insider subscription required.]

1. Nets ($25-$27 million)
2. Knicks ($24 million, assuming they don’t sign anyone for longer than a year)
3. Heat ($20-$22 million)
4. Timberwolves ($16-$18 million)
5. Bulls ($13-$15 million minus whatever they give Tyrus Thomas)
6. Thunder ($14-$15 million)
7. Rockets ($12-$14 million minus whatever they give to Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes)
8. Clippers ($10-$11 million)
9. Kings ($9-$10 million)

This assumes a cap of $53.6 million, which is an optimistic view. The cap could drop below $50 million.

It takes about $14 million of space to sign a max-contract player, so even under these optimistic circumstances, there really are only five teams — the Nets, Knicks, Heat, T-Wolves and Thunder — that will have that kind of space. (The Bulls are likely to keep Thomas and the Rockets are likely to retain Landry and Hayes, though they could make another move here or there to put them in position to add a superstar.)

Of these five teams, the Heat look to be in the best overall shape. Their projected payroll already includes Dwyane Wade, so they have enough to woo another superstar (LeBron, Bosh, Amare, Boozer?) to Miami. They also have a few good young players (Michael Beasley, Daequan Cook and Mario Chalmers) under contract, and the city boasts a great climate and nightlife. But the real draw is playing with Wade, who has already proven that he can win a championship if he has a little help.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts