Joe Johnson is reportedly in the process of having his contract bought out by the Brooklyn Nets. Is an Atlanta Hawks reunion with Iso Joe on the table?
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Brooklyn Nets “have opened buyout negotiations” with former All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson. Stein also reports that the Atlanta Hawks are one of the many NBA Playoff teams in pursuit of Joe Johnson’s services for a late season push. Would the Atlanta Hawks highly consider bringing back Iso joe to the ATL?
With the Brooklyn Nets finally getting their new general manager in Sean Marks formerly with the San Antonio Spurs organization, Marks has begun making some tough moves with the antiquated and overpriced Nets’ conundrum of an NBA roster. Since taking over a week or so ago, Marks has already parted ways with former No. 1 overall draft pick from the 2006 NBA Draft in center Andrea Bargnani.
With only a year left on his albatross of a contract, it seems that a Joe Johnson buyout is inevitable. It’s not that the 14-year NBA veteran and seven-time NBA All-Star shooting guard Johnson doesn’t still have immense value to an NBA team offensively, it’s that he’s not a maximum contract player anymore. Having the Nets buy him out makes Johnson a more attract veteran free agent that can carry an offense with his strong jump shooting game.
What makes the rumors about the Atlanta Hawks being one of a handful of teams interested in Joe Johnson was that he is the epitome of the type of player that head coach Mike Budenholzer wouldn’t want to build his roster around. Iso Joe as he was known during his peak years in Atlanta is a bit of a ball-stopper and takes difficult shots that analytical general managers cringe at. Johnson can make those tough shots, but his play isn’t ideal in the pace and space era of the NBA.
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Although Joe Johnson is in the middle of his worst NBA season since his early days with the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns as a role player, Johnson is still one of the best shooting guards to have played in the NBA the last decade plus. He’s the type of player that good teams would want to run the second unit offense as a spot-up shooter in a sixth man role.
Even though the Atlanta faithful still have some resentment for the massive contract he commanded with the Hawks many years ago, now that Joe Johnson is potentially going to become available on a veteran’s minimum salary for the rest of 2015-16, it’s not all that crazy for the Atlanta Hawks to continue pursuing Johnson once he supposedly clears waivers 48 hours after his impending buyout.
Maybe being able to play on a playoff caliber team in the final weeks of the 2015-16 NBA season could stand as the type of fresh air Johnson needs to get back to playing at a high level at shooting guard.
Not being a part of the dysfunctional Brooklyn Nets organization and not having that beast of a contract weighing him down to perform at a superstar level anymore for an also-ran team could mean that Joe Johnson could stand as a spark plug for a playoff team looking to improve their stock down the stretch.
Atlanta has had some issues on the offensive end, as the Hawks have slipped to below-average in offensive efficiency in 2015-16. Not that Joe Johnson is going to take highly efficient jump shots, but he is more inclined to make those tough jump shots than anybody currently on the Atlanta Hawks’ roster.
He can still create his own offense and could prove vital in a sixth man role off the Atlanta bench as they push towards relevancy in the Eastern Conference in 2016. For a veteran minimum, Johnson is probably worth it as a rental for the final games of 2016.