HAWKS OFFSEASON REVIEW: PART 2

This is the 2nd installment to my 5 part series about the Hawks Offseason. Since the end of the 2009-2010 season, the Hawks Front Office has had a full plate of question marks on their table that need to be answered: will head coach Mike Woodson be back next season, will they resign Joe Johnson, will Josh Childress come back from Greece, will Marvin Williams or Mike Bibby be moved to upgrade at the 3 or 1, will they finally get a 7 foot Center to place next to the undersized Al Horford. We are near the end of the NBA 2010 – 2011 Offseason with most of these questions fully answered. In this 5 part series, I will deliver a full answer and explanation to each of these questions.

2. Will the Atlanta Hawks resign Joe Johnson?

Yes. Joe Johnson will resign to a contract that guarantees him $123.7 Million over 6 years.  At 28 years old, Joe averaged 21.3 points, 4.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in the 2009 – 2010 season. This contract will make him one of the highest paid NBA players in the league. This contract is the costliest salary in Atlanta sports history. It is good to see our superstar resign and help us contend, but at what price? In a legendary Free Agency class of 2010, The Hawks offered Joe $20 Million more than what other teams were able to offer. So, what were the Hawks thinking signing Joe at this price? Here is why the contract resigning Joe Johnson is the most HORRENDOUS contract in Atlanta Hawks history:

Reason 1: Age. In the year 2015 – 2016, Joe will be 34 years old making $24.1 Million. By then, he would be in the NBA for 15 years, IF he’s even still playing. Once an NBA player reaches his late 20’s, there is normally a decline in performance. Over the past 4 years, Joe’s numbers have not improved or declined. Not to mention, as you get older, you become more susceptible to injuries, which luckily for Joe isn’t many in his career. This makes it possible to think we have already seen Joe’s prime.

Reason 2: No salary cap flexibility. With Joe signing this albatross contract, the Hawks have no flexibility in contract extensions with, not just upcoming Free Agents, their own core players. Next offseason will be the 1st reality check for the ASG (Atlanta Spirit Group) when resigning their star Center, Al Horford, 6th Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford, and starting Point Guard, Mike Bibby, have expiring contracts. Joe’s contract makes it difficult for the team to improve, let alone keep their team together.

Reason 3: Nobody wants to touch his contract. Joe’s annual salary increases 10.5% each year. The older he gets, the less valuable he will be.

Reason 4: Joe’s a ball hog. He is notoriously known for dominating the ball on offense and keeping it. This is where ISO Joe comes into play. There have been too many times where there is a fresh shot clock and you see Joe standing 8 feet away from the Halfcourt line and sit there until there’s almost no time left on the shot clock and end up either passing the ball or hoisting up a bad shot. No wonder his stats are so good. His play on the court reflects his actions off the court: selfish.

Reason 5: He is not a leader. Joe’s personal character is quiet and humble mannered. As a veteran compared to his surrounding teammates, you would think, over the years, he would have grown into a leadership role with the younger, immature, inexperienced ballclub looking for guidance.

Reason 6: He upset Hawks fans. After a disappointing 105 – 75 loss in Game 3 of the embarrassing Hawks vs. Magic Eastern Semifinal match at Philips Arena, Hawks fans booed at their terrible display. Most of those boos were directed straight at the struggling Joe Johnson who failed to score until 6:30 before halftime. He went 3 – 15, scoring only 8 points in the game. After the game, Joe said about the boos, “We could care less if [fans] showed up.” This is how a Hawks fan responded on Craigslist.

So, thank you Joe Johnson for signing a contract that will ultimately be the demise of this team. While “true” superstars (LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Jermaine O’Neal, Ray Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, etc) are taking pay cuts to improve their team, you are selfishly drying up your teams cap space. This will always be the difference between you and a superstar; you love money more than the game. In the meantime… lets watch what the Hawks are paying $124 Million for:

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  1. November 23rd, 2010

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