Check out what Bill Simmons had to say about Joe Johnson today:
“Put it this way, Joe Johnson: Knicks fans aren’t exactly going to be pouring champagne on each other because their team just signed the 29-year-old alpha dog of the 2009-10 Atlanta Hawks — a team that was nearly embarrassed by the depleted Bucks, got taken to the woodshed by Orlando (four blowout losses by a playoff-record 101 points) and quit on their coach Bud Kilmer-style multiple times — on the heels of a three-year, 28-game playoff run in which you averaged an 18-5-4 and shot 41 percent from the field. You cannot win a title if Joe Johnson is one of the two guys making max money on your salary cap unless the other guy is named “LeBron.” Desperate NBA teams with money to burn this summer, consider yourselves warned.”
Hold on…let me e-mail that paragraph to Gar Forman…
Johnson is also taking his lumps in an ESPN roundtable discussion about the most disappointing players in the 2010 playoffs. J.A. Adande helpfully reminded me that Joe had some strong words heading into the postseason:
“I’m going into these playoffs with a chip on my shoulder. Not only do I want to prove I’m one of the best players in the league but that we have one of the best teams in the league. Honestly, I’m really not trying to prove it to anybody but myself. I just want to know that, if necessary, I can put this team on my back and take us as far as we can go. … The postseason is when players are made in this league. That means coming up with that big play or the big shot to put your team over the hump to get a win. The best players step up.”
And then Johnson stepped down. As Adande put it: “He was supposed to be a non-LeBron Plan B in free agency this summer. After this performance, why would anyone plan to spend big money on him?”
As for Boozer: he may or may not be a good fit for the Bulls — personally, I have concerns he may be a little undersized at power forward — but there’s a pretty strong chance he’ll be available on the open market. The reason? Money, of course.
According to Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: “The NBA’s latest projections call for next season’s luxury-tax threshold to be set at $68 million. Assuming they end up with the No. 9 pick, the Jazz’s newest rookie would be expected to make $2.4 million next season. That would leave the Jazz about $9 million to spend in deciding about re-signing free agents Boozer, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver and Kyrylo Fesenko without pushing their payroll into luxury-tax territory for the second consecutive season.”
Don’t forget: 1) Last summer, the Jazz spent a lot of money to retain Boozer’s backup, Paul Milsap. 2) Utah has the right to the Knicks’ first round draft pick, which means they could try to fill the Boozer gap through the draft. So unless the Jazz want to take a big luxury tax hit, Chicago — along with Miami, New York and New Jersey — will be eligible for the Carlos Boozer sweepstakes.