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Horford expects Johnson to stay with Hawks


Posted Jun 28 2010 7:40AM

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford says he expects teammate and fellow All Star Joe Johnson to re-sign with the team when free agency opens July 1.

"I haven't talked to him about that, but I think he'll stay," Horford said Monday in Singapore, where he's part of a group of NBA players and coaches conducting a basketball clinic. "The team's number one priority is trying to get Joe back with us."

Johnson, a four-time All-Star who averaged 21.3 points a game last season, had a poor performance in the Hawks' second round playoff loss to the Orlando Magic. Atlanta fired head coach Mike Woodson after the season and hired assistant Larry Drew earlier this month to replace him.

Horford said bad relations among players undermined the team's play and led to the playoff debacle, where the Magic beat the Hawks by an average of 25.3 points in the most lopsided four-game sweep in NBA history.

Orlando later lost to the Boston Celtics, who were defeated by the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

"It was players maybe not getting along with other players, and I think that showed on the court," Horford said. "We weren't playing together, we weren't doing things as a team. I really felt like the chemistry kind of disappeared. I don't think everyone was committed to the right things and to winning."

Horford, who averaged 14.2 points and 9.9 rebounds a game last season, said he needs help up front for the Hawks to win the Eastern Conference.

"We need another guy to come in and help me out, especially as far as rebounding and defending go," Horford said. "If we do that, it gives us a chance to be a real contender in the East."

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