When Brooklyn bought out Deron Williams and waived him, the primary reason discussed was all the money the Nets would save as they worked to get out of the luxury tax.
But there were other reasons — William’s melancholy demeanor had worn on the Nets locker room, according to people close to the team. Moving him would mean an improved chemistry.
That starts with Joe Johnson. The Nets have tried to move him (no matter they spin now), but with Williams gone the plan has shifted to keep him, and the team expects a bounce back season from Johnson and other Nets returnees, reports Nets Daily.
Moreover, various sources inside the Nets have suggested that the departure of D-Will is likely to help Johnson rebound. It was no secret that Brooklyn’s Backcourt didn’t get along….
One insider, asked after the buyout if the Nets were still pursuing a Johnson trade, firmly said no. He volunteered there was probably no one more pumped about the buyout than Johnson. “I am sure Joe will have a tremendous season,” he added with a smile.
It’s also the last year of Johnosn’s contract, his play this year will set the tone for what he gets paid next summer — which will be less than the $24.9 million he is owed this year. Johnson was solid last season, averaging 14.4 points per game, hitting 35 percent from three, and with a true shooting percentage pf 52.3 percent right near the league average. In the playoffs, he averaged 16.5 points per game.
His massive salary, by the way, is the other key reason the Nets didn’t move Johnson — that’s a lot of money to move. Teams willing to take it on were going to want to send players and contracts back that were going to last beyond just one season. The Nets didn’t want that.
What they want is to get out of the tax and spend money on a few quality but not max players, not one superstar.
But that’s next summer. First comes a season where we will see what Jarrett Jack can do for them at the point, and if just re-signed Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez can stay healthy and take a step forward.