Joe Johnson made an immediately regrettable mistake that's been made several times before by pro athletes when he dismissed booing home fans. After yet another embarrassing loss by the Hawks to the Magic in Game 3 in Atlanta, Johnson was asked about the home crowd's reaction.

"That doesn't bother me and I hope it doesn't bother anyone in this locker room," Johnson said. "It's about us in this locker room. We could care less if [fans] showed up."

The story is causing enough controversy in Atlanta, where fan support has always been relatively lukewarm (much like the team). Just imagine the mushroom cloud it would have created here in New York.

If Johnson's performance so far in the playoffs (averaging 18.3 points per game in the playoffs, which is below the 21.3 he averaged during the season) have weakened his market value as a free agent this summer -- it was already debatable that Johnson was worth the full max -- but a remark like that also questions whether he is suited to be a marquee player, which is what the max is supposed to suggest.

The more underplayed comments after Saturday's 30-point blowout loss were Johnson taking responsibility for the Hawks' dire situation in this series. Johnson has been blanketed by Magic defenders Matt Barnes and Mikael Pietrus, but he has also gotten himself in trouble by over-dribbling in isos. He is averaging just 12.3 points per game and shooting 28.6 percent from the field in three games against the Magic thus far.

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"These guys look to me for guidance, and when you are playing like that, it's almost impossible for us to win," Johnson told reporters in Atlanta. "I take a lot of heat for this, a lot of criticism."

Johnson has taken the Hawks into the second round for a second straight season, but clearly this is as far as he can carry a team by himself. But what if you paired him with another all-star caliber player -- a big such as Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudemire -- who can take some of the pressure off him as a primary scorer?

That's what the Knicks have to consider as they mull their options this summer. And Johnson will remain an option as long as he doesn't sign an extension with the Hawks before July 1.