When Joe Johnson signed a six-year, $119 million contract in 2010, many people questioned how the Atlanta Hawks were going to be able to handle the magnitude of the deal considering their lack of revenue to match something like that. The answer was made clear when the Hawks traded him to the Brooklyn Nets this past summer. Now, the Nets are the ones that could be in trouble.
Johnson is a phenomenal basketball player who deserves to get paid plenty of money for his ability to knock down shots consistently and help lead teams into the postseason, even if he sometimes fails to show up in big games. However, with his numbers starting to drop off a bit this season, it is hard to imagine that Johnson is worth the $89.3 million over what is now a little more than three years.
Many people expected Brooklyn to be instant contenders for an NBA championship after adding Johnson to a group of players that includes Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and rising star Brook Lopez. There is no question the Nets are contenders this year, but Johnson’s acquisition has not been as successful as many had hoped.
The 31-year-old is averaging 2.0 points per game less in Brooklyn then he did last season and his shooting percentage (42.6 percent) has dropped off quite a bit. With the talented players around him, Johnson should be able to take more open shots without the pressure of hitting every attempt he takes. However, the complete opposite has happened instead in which he does not take as many shots and is not as an effective shooter.
Considering Johnson only has so many good years left, the Nets traded for him thinking that he would be a great addition for them in the short-term. They know his numbers are going to slide over the next few years, but the hope was that this season he could go above and beyond and help the team reach their ultimate goal. However, is worth the team paying the insanely expensive luxury tax for the next four years?
Johnson still makes Brooklyn way better than what they would be without him, but he is certainly not worth $19.7 million this season. And if any fans out there think he is worth this kind of money, just remember that this is $2.2 million more than LeBron James is making this season. Johnson is a great player, but considering he is only going to get paid more as the years go on, there is no way he is worth the contract unless the Nets win a title.