Critics, and even some admirers, always include the addendum that serves to undercut whatever praise of Joe Johnson just came before.

But that contract ...

Johnson is a five-time All-Star, a tough 6-foot-7 guard who can handle the ball and score from anywhere on the court. He's very good, but is he $124 million good?

The Hawks took a chance when they traded for Johnson and paid him $70 million in 2005. He had never been a lead guard, but he blossomed in Atlanta as the Hawks earned hard-fought credibility.

But what about that contract that will pay Johnson more than LeBron James and Dwyane Wade?

On and on it's gone since Johnson signed the richest deal in the NBA in the summer of 2010. Over and over Johnson has been asked if he feels pressure to live up to that deal.

He always answers the same way.

"I don't feel no pressure at all," Johnson said on the eve of his seventh season in Atlanta. "I try to do the things I have been doing over my career, period. Just come out and play the game the way I know how to play."