Hawks to talk extension with Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson is the best player on the Atlanta Hawks roster, and they’d like to have him stick around. Although not a superstar, the versatile shooting guard has skills and should continue to be in All-Star team discussions for years to come.

I had heard they were planning on getting into this soon. Didn’t know when, though. Apparently quite soon. Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via blog):

Multiple sources have confirmed that Hawks general manager Rick Sund is on an extended trip to the left coast, and part of his itinerary includes time in Los Angeles for face-to-face talks about a contract extension with Joe Johnson’s camp. A three-time All-Star, Johnson is heading into the final year of the five-year, $70 million deal he signed in August 2005 (which if traced back, you will realize was the rebirth of the franchise that has since made the playoffs in back-to-back years). With superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh headlining next summer’s free agent crop, several teams are lining up to be major players.

Johnson isn’t worthy of the max and if he demands it the Hawks should balk. But assuming he’s reasonable, the two sides may be fairly close in their goals.