Amidst the talk of the 2010 free agents, there are the usual suspects, LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Amare, etc. But another name that is less talked about yet still an important one is Atlanta Hawk’s star guard Joe Johnson. Johnson has been with the Hawks for several seasons and had toiled with the team for some serious down years before enjoying the recent rise to elite status. And still, despite playing for one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, there is a lot of talk about Johnson being one of the big name free agents to switch teams. In fact, there are rumours about the New York Knicks being the main suitors for Johnson if they fail to sign the other aforementioned big names.
Now many may find a rumour like this very puzzling. After all, why would Johnson leave a franchise that is finally looking to take their success to the next level for a team like the Knicks who have struggled through a decade of ineptitude? The answer may not be that puzzling if one considers Johnson’s last turn at free agency. One of the key offensive weapons on the high octane Phoenix Suns, Johnson chose to leave the Suns and their NBA title aspirations for a Hawks team that was a perennial loser – mostly for the chance to be the man on the Hawks instead of the fourth or fifth option on a winning team.
Given his past history, no one should be surprised if JJ does bolt Hotlanta for the bright lights of New York city and its basketball mecca. But if that is what he is considering, Johnson should remember the old credo that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. The Hawks are a young team with loads if talent and a ton of potential, and will have a much greater chance to contend for a title long before the Knicks will even sniff one. Once the offseason is upon us, the question for players like Joe Johnson will be what will be the most important, winning or the money and prestige.