Joe Johnson, Nets Agree on Buyout: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2016

Dallas Mavericks' Wesley Matthews (23) defends as Brooklyn Nets' Joe Johnson (7) drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets announced they have waived Joe Johnson on Thursday, completing their buyout. The news comes just hours after ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported the two sides opened negotiations. 

Nets general manager Sean Marks spoke about the decision in the team's release, commending Johnson for his contributions during a three-and-a-half-year stint with the team:

The Nets want to thank Joe for his many contributions to the team and the organization. Joe has been a quality professional since joining the Nets four years ago, was a valued member of three playoff teams, and provided many thrilling moments for his teammates and Nets' fans.  We wish him much success in the future.

Shortly after the announcement was made, Johnson relayed a message to the organization and Nets fans, thanking them for their support.

"Thank you to all of the Brooklyn and New York Fans for your support during my time with the [Nets]," Johnson wrote. "I want to thank the Nets organization and I wish nothing but the best to the team. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my career and am excited to bring my talents to a new team."

Joe Johnson's Key Stats (2015-16)
PPGFG%3P%Catch & Shoot FG%Catch & Shoot 3P%Pull-Up FG%
Source: NBA.com/Stats

According to ESPN.com's Mike Mazzeo, Marks said Johnson "gave back $3 million on his deal as part of buyout."

With terms agreed upon, The Vertical's Bobby Marks provided a timeline of when Johnson will be able to latch on with a new team: 

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Joe Johnson is not eligible to be claimed. He will clear waivers Saturday at 5pm. Nets roster now stands at 13.

According to Stein, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors have all expressed interest in signing the seven-time All-Star.

And although Johnson shouldn't have a shortage of suitors, one stands out above the rest, per Mazzeo:

Mike Mazzeo @MazzNYDN

Other contenders could possibly offer Joe Johnson more than vet. minimum, but it appears his best path to the Finals would be in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers can only offer Johnson the minimum salary of $8,819 per day, according to NBC Sports' Dan Feldman, but the defending Eastern Conference champions have always been the most logical landing spot for the 34-year-old. 

On Feb. 19, Cleveland.com's Chris Haynes reported that if Johnson were waived, "Cleveland would be his next destination." 

Per Basketball-Reference.com, Johnson's player efficiency rating (11.0) may be the lowest of his career, but he can still offer some serious punch to a Cavaliers second unit that needs to find ways to space the floor.

Adding Channing Frye in a deadline deal accomplished that task in the frontcourt, but sliding Johnson in as a flexible swingman who can play the 2, 3 or 4 makes him a compelling option at the minimum. 

The Cavaliers bench currently ranks 28th in scoring (27.1 points per game), and a 37.1 percent three-point shooter like Johnson who's averaging a modest 11.8 points per game could represent a major improvement over veteran Richard Jefferson. 

Johnson also offers Cleveland a safety blanket at shooting guard. Iman Shumpert has been bothered by various bumps and bruises all season long—he's currently nursing a shoulder injury—so the peace-of-mind factor can't be discounted. 

With back-to-back Eastern Conference titles in their sights, the Cavaliers would have to consider it a major boon to nab Johnson and his seasoned scoring chops on a cheap half-season rental before he becomes a free agent this summer. 


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