The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed unrestricted free agent guard Joe Johnson to a contract, according to Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Sund. An All-Star the last four years, the sharpshooting guard enters his sixth campaign as a Hawk in 2010-11. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. We’ll post details of the deal later tonight.
“Although I explored several different opportunities this offseason, Atlanta was the place I wanted to be,” Johnson said. “I truly appreciate the commitment shown by the Hawks and the team’s ownership, and their continued efforts to improve the team. Staying in Atlanta provides the best opportunity to win today and in the future. My five years with the Hawks have been the best of my career, and I look forward to my teammates and I trying to reach our ultimate goal together – competing for a championship for the city of Atlanta.”
“Our primary goal entering free agency was to retain Joe, so we’re pleased to have reached an agreement quickly, and are thrilled to welcome him back,” Sund said. “He made it very clear that he shares our excitement about the future of our club. We were among the final four teams in the Conference each of the last two years, and we think we’re on the verge of making that next step.”
“Joe has been a central part of our team’s improvement over the last five years, and has worked incredibly hard to become a perennial All-Star, and an All-Pro last season,” Sund added. “Joe’s signing illustrates our philosophy of making the commitment to keeping our core together.”
“We’re very excited to have Joe back in Atlanta,” said Hawks head coach Larry Drew. “There were a number of teams interested in signing Joe, and we put our best foot forward to bring him back and continue what we’ve started.”
Last year, Johnson earned an All-Star berth for the fourth consecutive season, and became the first Hawk since Dikembe Mutombo to earn a starting nod (injury replacement) in 1997-98. He led the team in scoring and assists for the fifth straight season, as he averaged 21.3 ppg, 4.9 apg, 4.6 rpg and 1.1 spg in 38.0 mpg (.458 FG%, .369 3FG%, .818 FT%), starting 76 games.
Johnson ranked 11th in the league in ppg, 12th in FGM (635), t26th in apg and t10th in mpg. He led the team in scoring 34 times, in assists 28 times and in rebounds on six occasions.
Johnson has appeared in 699 career games through nine seasons with the Hawks, Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns, averaging 17.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.2 rpg and 1.0 spg in 36.9 mpg (.443 FG%, .373 3FG%, .792 FT%). In his five seasons in Atlanta, those numbers have climbed to 21.7 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.4 rpg and 1.1 spg (.449 FG%, .369 3FG%, .805 FT%).
He has moved into 2nd place on the Hawks all-time 3FGM list (694), also ranking 1st in Hawks annals in mpg (40.0), 2nd in 3FGA (1,880), 5th in ppg (21.7), 10th in FGM (3,070) and 11th in total points (8,165) and assists (2,083).
Johnson was originally acquired by the Hawks in a sign-and-trade transaction from the Phoenix Suns, in exchange for Boris Diaw and two conditional draft picks, on August 19, 2005. He was selected by Boston in the first round (10th overall) of the 2001 NBA Draft.