Joe Johnson to the Jazz

2 years 22 million for Joe. I like the fit for him as the Jazz have a deep roster with a lot of guys in their early to mid 20s. He should be able to be one of their key bench guys and I would expect the Jazz to be a playoff team next year.

Actually I would think Joe would take his shoes off as he has made maybe 200 million and surely could sit back and enjoy life. So I think he is not playing for the money but just loves his career which has been grand. Therefore I wish him great success and hope he goes out a winner.

If he were playing for the love of the game, I would think he would go for a ring. Winning big has never been a priority to him. His last two signings pretty much confirmed that. His NBA career has been mainly about playing for contracts. If you want a player breathing fire to advance in the postseason, he’s not the guy. If you want a professional shooter to help you get to the playoffs, he’s not a bad pickup.

You are too harsh on Joe. There is this issue of chasing a ring and then there is also the issue of getting PT and starting. Joe is not in a position like LeBron or Durrant, who can go to any team and start and also chase the ring. If you love the game, you want to play significant minutes first before chasing the ring. You would not be content to be a Joe Kleine and sit on the bench and just be happy to get a ring, I think Joe’s decision making so far has been about being able to get significant minutes. After these two years, he very well might do what you suggest,

He could do exactly what David West did. If he’s good enough to start on a borderline playoff team, he could be a valuable player off the bench on a championship contender. He would rather cash in.

He could have been a rent-a-scorer for a half season on a contender this season but insisted that he start to play for the next contract. He could have helped Atlanta, the team that massively overpaid him, make a run. He didn’t. Fine. I might do the same, but let’s not pretend that he’s playing for love the game. You can certainly argue that he’s made the smart moves, but I doubt that he will have the ability to contribute on a championship team in two years. This was his last chance unless he does the buyout thing again.

I’ve had the misfortune of having an emotional investment in the team success, not his personal success, on two of his stops. He didn’t show up at Arkansas in the postseason, which sealed CNR’s fate. Granted, it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t have more help, but he didn’t answer the bell either.

He then bled Atlanta for every nickel that he could, as most players do in contract negotiations, and proceeded to shoot 41% in the playoffs as one of the NBA’s highest paid players. He shot under 45% in his Atlanta postseason career. Thank goodness Brooklyn was willing to take on any contract to get an instant playoff team in a new building. He’s extremely consistent, both in his ability to provide efficient scoring in the regular season and then vanish in the postseason. If you take star money, you get star responsibility. He’s not a bad guy. He has been a good player. He’s just shown zero sign that he’s an athlete that burns to win at the highest level.

If he’s handled his money wisely, he’s set for life in luxury. More power to him. I’ll never criticize a person for looking out for his own economic interest. Neither will I praise pursuing those interests as anything particularly noble.

I can see why you are mad at Joe. It is all about the emotional investment in Atlanta.

I have a different way of looking at his stay at Arkansas. I see it as he was part of the reason we won SECT and qualified for two NCAATs. We would not have without him. I don’t think he sealed CNR’s fate by not progressing beyond first round of NCAATs. If you want to ignore other CNR stuff and just zero in on Joe, you could say he sealed CNR’s fate by leaving after sophomore season. Similarly Portis still has a chance of doing that to CMA’s fate,

As far as bleeding Atlanta, they gave him that contract. Should he have refused it? We all know Joe is not a Kobe Bryant and can carry the team on his own. Was that your expectation of him in Atlanta? You quote shooting percentages of Joe, but I am sure you remember all those shots he had to take with clock running out and also having to create his own offense. Atlanta never assembled a team that could win the a Eastern Conference. It was just good enough to make the playoffs and win a series.

By the way, it did not work out for David West, did it? Spurs did not make it any further than Heat. I have a hard time remembering much about West from last year.

I have never understood the lack of respect for Joe.

We absolutely don’t make the NCAAT without Joe in either year. He was also absolutely part of the problem in us not advancing in both years. Both can be true. Losing in the first round by a deuce in 2001 was particularly damaging. Johnson went 6 of 17 in that game after going 4 of 16 in a 4-point loss to Miami the year before. The path to the Sweet Sixteen was wide open in 2001. Georgetown routed the #15-seed Hampton by 21 in the next round. Do you seriously believe that a Sweet Sixteen in 2001 would not have eased the tensions in 2002? Is it Joe’s fault that CNR got fired? Certainly not. He’s a footnote at worst. That had been coming on for years, but Joe contributed in a missed opportunity that could have saved CNR’s job. Two straight first-round losses gave Broyles the opening that he wanted to turn the following season into a circus, which we still haven’t recovered from.

Postseason failures happen all the time. I have sympathy for the college kids. You can’t always bring your A-game in a one-and-done situation. That’s life. Does that totally negate regular season accomplishments? Certainly not, but what happens in March counts on the ledger as well.

Portis is one of my favorite Arkansas players of all time, but I haven’t given him a free pass for March failures either. He couldn’t get a game winner against USC that might have given us a chance at an NCAAT. He suddenly couldn’t make a shot after the first round of the SECT last season. Had he played lights out in March, would the atmosphere around CMA and the basketball program be improved? Almost certainly yes.

Joe definitely should have taken the contract with Atlanta. 99% of NBA players would have done the exact same thing. As I said, I’m not criticizing him for taking it. Nonetheless, he got lucky. The organization pretty much had no choice but to pay more for the same results or get worse. Problem is that they paid more for worse results. That contract came up in Atlanta this week in the Horford situation in the debate over whether to hamstring the organization for years with an aging player in order to tread water or to move on. That contract is never held up as the exemplar of a smart move by the organization.

You can’t have it both ways. Excuse him for taking the money that limits what moves the organization can make, and excuse personal underperformance in the playoffs because he didn’t have enough talent around him. There is some myth among Arkansas fans that Hawk’s fans should appreciate Joe for “bringing them back to relevance.” Atlanta was 93 - 153 in his first three seasons. He was a playoff-quality starter that began getting to the playoffs when other playoff quality-starters like Horford, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby, and Jamal Crawford were added. It’s not like Joe was ever a Lebron-type anchor carrying the organization, though he ended up getting paid like one.

Their best Joe team was in 2010 when they won 53 games. They got blown out in four straight games by 59-win Orlando in the second round. Johnson, he of the getting paid $20 million per year to play basketball, went 4 of 11, 5 of 16, 3 of 15, and 5 of 15 in that series. Is it really unreasonable to expect more than that at the most important time of the year, even if a championship is not in the cards? That team and Joe were not hopelessly outmanned in that series, but they certainly folded like a cheap suit. By this time I had seen it too often from Johnson.

Atlanta then slid back to 44 and 40 wins in the weak East with Johnson as one of the highest paid players in the league. After the money he was paid, just how much respect is owed to Johnson from Atlanta fans? He was overcompensated for the results that he brought. The 70’s Hubie Brown teams with John Drew and Dan Roundfield were better. The 80’s Doc and Dominique teams were much better and infinitely funner to watch. The 90’s Mookie, Smitty, and Dikembe teams were better. The 10’s Teague, Korver, Horford, Millsap teams were better and infinitely funner to watch.

No, it didn’t work out for West after they ran into OKC. But, he gave it a shot on a team that had a real chance to win it all. I guessed you missed it, but he was in the frontline rotation and started 16 games on a team that won 67 games this season. You darned well know that San Antonio had a much, much better shot at winning it all than Bosh-less Miami. As I said, maybe it wasn’t the smart move, but the passion to go for the ring is something I can respect.

David West just signed with GSW for $1.29m. Hope this works out for him.