No de­ci­sions from biggest names, but John­son will stick to Hawks

Stoudemire’s de­ci­sion may come soon, af­fect oth­ers

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS BRIEFING -

While LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are not ex­pected to make any ca­reer de­ci­sions over the long Fourth of July week­end, Joe John­son made his: He’s stay­ing in At­lanta.

John­son, a four-time Al­lS­tar guard, has agreed to a max­i­mum con­tract — $119 mil­lion over six years — to re­main with the Hawks, agent Arn Tellem con­firmed.

John­son, who av­er­aged 21.3 points last sea­son, has been at the cen­ter of the Hawks’ resur- gence since ar­riv­ing in At­lanta from Phoenix in a sign-and­trade deal on Aug. 19, 2005. A 13-win team the sea­son be­fore he ar­rived, the Hawks dou­bled that the next sea­son and went 53-29 in 2009-10 be­fore get­ting swept by Or­lando in the East­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals.

“His pri­or­i­ties are his fam­ily, his friends and his game,’’ Tellem said.

John­son could have signed with nearly any of the six teams who have salary-cap space for a max free agent.

Power for­ward Amare Stoudemire may be the next domino to fall. He spent the en­tire week­end be­ing wined and dined in New York and will meet with Knicks of­fi­cials to­day.

Stoudemire wants a $100 mil­lion, five-year max con­tract to be re­united with his for­mer Phoenix coach, Mike D’An­toni, and there are in­di­ca­tions the Knicks will give him that.

But what the Knicks re­ally want to know is whether James is se­ri­ously in­ter­ested in play­ing for them and, if he is, does he want Stoudemire as his big man?

New York held a se­cret sec­ond meet­ing with James’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives Satur­day in Cleve- land to clar­ify ex­actly where they stood with Stoudemire.

Ac­cord­ing to ESPN.com, the Knicks told James in their ini­tial meet­ing with him that if he signs with them, he can choose which free agent big man he would like to play along­side: Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Car­los Boozer or David Lee.

Most in­sid­ers be­lieve James is more likely to sign with Chicago or stay in Cleve­land.

In any case, the Cleve­land Plain Dealer re­ported that James will not an­nounce his de­ci­sion un­der af­ter his bas­ket­ball camp in Akron, Ohio, con­cludes Wed­nes­day night.

Stoudemire has al­ready been telling peo­ple that if he signs with the Knicks, and James doesn’t, he’ll be re­cruit­ing other play­ers.

“I’ve talked to Carmelo An­thony that he needs to come here,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ve talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I de­cide to come here.’’

Parker of the Spurs and An­thony of the Nuggets be­come free agents next sea­son, al­though Parker could prob­a­bly be had in a sign-and-trade deal this year be­cause San An­to­nio is so high on backup point guard Ge­orge Hill.

At­lanta’s Joe John­son

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