The Atlanta Hawks have hired Larry Drew as their new head coach. Drew, in case you didn’t know, was Atlanta’s lead assistant for the last six years. But despite his connection with the team and its players, his promotion could have a profound effect on whether or not Joe Johnson is wearing a Hawks jersey next season.
According to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The Hawks want to move away from an isolation-heavy offensive approach that was influenced by Johnson’s playing style. … A person with knowledge of Johnson’s plans said he’s still open to returning. But the person said the new coach would have to sell Johnson on relying more on his teammates in the offense and ensure him that locker-room chemistry would improve.”
However, ESPN’s Marc Stein thinks the question might not be whether Johnson wants the Hawks, but whether the Hawks want Johnson: “Pessimism reigns leaguewide about the Hawks’ ability to hang onto their All-Star swingman this summer, but I’ve been repeatedly told that there are folks in the organization that matter who would not be crushed if Johnson moves on, taking the fresh-start vibe to another level.”
If Johnson does fly the Hawks’ coop, he’ll cross over onto the Bulls’ radar. He won’t be one of the Bulls top choices — which would probably be (in some order) LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh — but he’s likely a Plan D or Plan E guy.