Joe Johnson, GET OUT!

Ben GunbyAnalyst IMay 7, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 04:  (L to R) Josh Smith #5, Mike Bibby #10 and Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks sit on the bench and watch the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 4, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. The Magic defeated the Hawks 114-71. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

The honeymoon is over. Joe, we get your gameplan. You take the money, and you perform, to an extent, enough to earn another contract elsewhere, but you check out when it's crunch time.

Ask the Suns. You took their money, but as the deal winded down, where were you? Oh, right, doing nothing.

So your deal with the Hawks is over. You've taken their money, and now it's crunch time and you are a pending free agent. Where are you? Oh, right, again, nowhere to be seen.

You epitomize what is perceived to be the problems with pro athletes. You only care about the next paycheck.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I've long heard actions speak louder than words.

Your actions are those of a man who doesn't care one iota about where here currently plays, but rather where he will next get paid.

As bad as the 40 plus point drubbing in game one was, and as bad the 4th quarter collapse in game two turned out to be, the worst thing about these two games down in Florida was what I saw prior to the 4th quarter in game two.

The Hawks team was centered around a player, a player trying to motivate, drive, and inspire his team.

The problem?

That player wasn't Joe Johnson. It was Josh Smith. And to take nothing away from Mr. Smith, in fact, more props to him for taking over a role that was left empty because of the ineptness of someone else, but that should have been Joe Johnson.

Don't give me the, "he's not vocal" crap, I don't want to hear it. If you want, as he does, to be paid max money in the NBA, you need to be a leader. You need to be vocal. Vocal leaders win championships. Vocal leaders LEAD teams to championships. If Joe Johnson can't be that, then he shouldn't be paid accordingly. He obviously can't, or, more likely, doesn't WANT, to lead anybody to a championship. He wants to lead himself to the nearest bank and cash a really fat check.

He's said over and over again how this Hawks team has no heart. Actually, it does. This team rebounded from an absolute shellacking in game one, only to lead game two with mere seconds to go in the 3rd quarter. This TEAM has heart.

The problem is, the so called leader doesn't.

Where has Joe Johnson been?

Remember game five in Atlanta against the Bucks? Remember this "superstar" showing? It was a huge game for this team, and where was it's leader? It's star? Hmmmmmmmmm?

Since that game, where has Joe Johnson been?

Turning the ball over? Oh, yeah, he's been excelling at that.

Down one, down 1-0 in the eastern semis on the road, entering the fourth quarter. Do you know what superstars do then? They take over.

What did you do? Oh, right, nothing, how easy it is to forget.

That game in Orlando was your chance. It was your chance to prove the naysayers wrong, your chance to show what a big time player you were. Your team was in position to even the series against a higher seed in the eastern semis, and they were at this point in need, as every playoff NBA team is, of someone to take over down the stretch. But yet, you couldn't do it. You failed, again.

But you're a superstar? Sorry Joe, superstars don't defer to people who just recently were allowed to drink alcohol legally to lead their team. Superstars don't wilt when it's time to make it happen. Superstars don't render their teammates useless.

Making others better is kind of what they do. Funny, you don't, can't, or don't want, to do that.

Vince Carter was, albeit, up one, and at home, but it was crunch time. What did he do? Take the game over.

What did Joe Johnson do? You wilted, again.

And you think you deserve a max contract? Really?

I'm sorry, I think max contract guys are the ones who inspire their teammates, who make their teammates better, who lead their teams to do things beyond what should be expected.

Dominating the ball for 20 seconds and then forcing up a bad shot or leaving a teammate in no-man's land with no time on the  clock isn't exactly what I think of when it comes to guys commanding contracts like LeBron and Kobe. Neither is disappearing when it matters most.

Maybe that's just me. Hopefully it's also Rick Sund.

Joe, you are what you are, you've gotten us where you can get us, or anywhere else, but please, get the heck out of Atlanta.

What's unfortunate is, is that if you choose to stay, our ownership group might choose to keep you.