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NBA Free Agency: Joe Johnson Expected To Accept Hawks' Maximum Contract Offer

Joe Johnson is still technically a free agent, but it appears he won't be for longer. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Johnson is leaning towards staying with the Hawks.

The Atlanta Hawks offered Joe Johnson a six-year, $119 million contract Thursday morning, and sources close to the All-Star guard expect him to accept the max deal soon.

The Hawks moved quickly at midnight ET to try to secure their franchise star and offered the contract that Johnson's agent Arn Tellem sought from the organization. Sources say ownership OK'd the max offer and general manager Rick Sund delivered it in Los Angeles.

Yesterday, reports indicated the Hawks would offer him the maximum six-year contract to stay in Atlanta, and it appears they indeed did so on the first night of free agency.

The contract was mocked by many all over the Internet because few really believe Johnson is worth the contract he's about to sign. The former blogger for SB Nation's Hawks blog Peachtree Hoops, for example, tweeted this last night.

Blog retirement is coming to an end if this six year max deal goes down. The return will rely heavily on profanity.     

It's true that the thought of Johnson making an average of $20 million for the next six years is a pretty sobering thought and will likely come back to bite the team down the road. The flip side, of course, is that losing Johnson for nothing stunts whatever progress the Hawks have already made, and offering him a maximum contract is the only way to keep him from bolting to another team. Both points have merit. Atlanta was really between a rock and a hard place here. 

This isn't to defend the decision they made - it was a bad one. It just goes to show that, sometimes, there are no good options.