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Joe Contract? Not in Brooklyn

4/22/2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Six years, $123 million.

That was the max contract Joe Johnson signed with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010.

And that contract came to define him there.

That stopped when Brooklyn Nets traded for Johnson. No longer the No. 1 option, he is just another big contract on a team full of them.

Plus, it's New York. And Johnson, who hit three-game winning shots during the regular season, has fit in just fine.

"I'm not sure what the whole contract situation was down there in Atlanta," Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "To me they obviously had other good players -- Al [Horford] and Josh [Smith].

"I just think he's come into more of a balanced situation here. If there's there anywhere in our country where big contracts aren't impressing people it's around here.

"I think people are used to guys making telephone numbers, so that's not a concern."

Despite putting up strong statistics as a six-time All-Star with the Hawks, Johnson was never able to get them past the second round of the playoffs. Atlanta fans evidenly were happy to have his "albatross" contract off the books when he was dealt to the Nets in the offseason.

"Someone had to give him that contract, right?" Deron Williams said.

Hawks fans booed Johnson both times the two teams played in Atlanta.

"It doesn't matter. They don't got no real fans," Williams said.

Johnson, who posted 16 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on 7-for-13 shooting, told reporters when asked about the contract scenario: "It doesn't bother me at all, honestly. It kind of is what it is."