NBA fans have been geeked up about the summer of 2010 for several years now. After all, it figures to be a perfect storm of star talent hitting free agency - Lebron, D-Wade, Bosh, Amare...and now Joe Johnson too. According to Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Johnson turned down a potential four-year $60 million extension from the Hawks to test the free agent waters next summer.
Lost in all the hype of next year's ballyhooed free agent class, however, is the economic reality that with the salary cap likely to shrink for a second consecutive year - and even more than it did this past year - fewer teams will be positioned to offer big money deals than most players and agents assumed would be. A player of Johnson's stature - a multiple All-Star, but certainly not a a top echelon player - might be surprised at how small his market is, much as David Lee was this year. That's not to say that Johnson will garner no interest from other teams, but merely that fewer teams will end up competing for a large pool of talent. The bottom line? Expect less player movement, as they realize the teams that can pay them the most are the teams they're already on.