Sources: Johnson likes Knicks, Bulls
Joe Johnson already has a six-year max offer from the Atlanta Hawks, but still hadn't committed to signing it Friday because he wants to see how things shake out with the other maximum-salary free agents, two NBA sources told ESPN.com Friday night.
Sources said Johnson was still considering whether it would be a better career move to play in New York or Chicago, and his ultimate decision would hinge upon which of the top free agents make commitments to those teams.
The Knicks were the first team to meet with Johnson when he became a free agent at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, making it known that he was among the players atop their wish list. The Bulls contacted Johnson as well, but did not meet with him.
When Atlanta quickly offered Johnson approximately $119 million over six years -- nearly $27 million more than any other team could offer -- it was believed the four-time All-Star was no longer available.
But sources said his continued hesitancy to commit to the deal was a sign that Johnson wanted to keep his options open.
One source said the chances of Johnson accepting Atlanta's offer were "slightly" better that 50-50.
If Johnson chose a team other than the Hawks, he could still sign a max contract if a sign-and-trade could be worked out.
The Knicks have reportedly told Amare Stoudemire they are prepared to offer him a five-year contract worth approximately $99 million, but New York was not ready to make any hard commitment until the free agent market developed further. The Knicks plan to wait for updates from Chris Bosh, who spoke with them Friday morning, LeBron James, who they met with Thursday afternoon, and Dwyane Wade, who met with Knicks officials in Chicago on Friday and described himself as "intrigued" by New York.
The Knicks' contingent returned to New York after the meeting with Bosh and Wade in Chicago and a source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor that Stoudemire was scheduled to fly into New York on Saturday night and sit down with Knicks brass on Monday.
The Bulls, meanwhile, spent 2½ hours in a second meeting with Wade on Friday night as ESPN.com's Chad Ford reported Wade was on the fence about joining his hometown team.
James will meet with Bulls officials in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon after hearing the last-gasp pitch from the team he might leave, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There has been no clear indication from James' camp as to when he will make his decision.
Chris Sheridan is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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