Joe Johnson’s Options in Free Agency

by May 12, 2010

There’s Atlanta (which may no longer even want him to stay), and the New York and Miami media are making their obligatory pitches for the soon to be free agent: “If the Heat’s free agency flirtation with LeBron James falls flat this summer, the next-best wing player on the market is open to idea of joining Dwyane Wade in Miami. All-Star guard Joe Johnson was noncommittal about his future in Atlanta when he emerged from an embarrassing four-game series sweep Monday against Orlando. But amid his struggles during the series, Johnson said he would take a look at all of his options this summer, including partnering with Wade. Not only did Johnson say he wouldn’t mind shifting to a secondary role on a team with an established superstar, he also would change positions. ‘That’s a great situation — you have to look at it,’ Johnson told The Miami Herald while discussing his options. ‘I’m not saying I’ll go play with him or him. But being a free agent, you pay attention to everybody’s salary cap, what everybody can do.’ No team is set up to in better position for bolder moves than Miami, the only team in the league with an elite player in tow and the flexibility to add as many as two marquee free agents to max contracts. With plans to re-sign Wade and with at least $25 million in salary-cap space, Miami vows to be aggressive when free agency opens July 1. ‘Most of the players in this league know what Miami is about,’ Heat president Pat Riley said. ‘I’m not able to talk to them prior to July 1. All I can do is use my — I don’t need to say it — whatever it is you need to do prior to July 1, powers of positive thinking.’ Two league sources said there is mutual interest between the Heat and Johnson, although the four-time All-Star has not ruled out returning to the Hawks. Riley’s priority — after re-signing Wade — is to gauge James’ interest in coming to Miami.”