Brendan Haywood, whose contract is fully unguaranteed and therefore could be immediately waived with no cap hit, would be the centerpiece going to Brooklyn. But he alone doesn’t make enough to match Johnson’s salary. So, Anderson Varejao would also likely be involved.
One problem: Nobody wants Varejao, who is owed $9,638,554, $10,361,446 ($9,361,446 guaranteed) and $10,000,000 ($0 guaranteed) the next three seasons.
Signing Varejao to a contract extension before the season seemed silly. It became even worse when Varejao suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in December.
Now, Varejao – who turns 33 before the season – is overpaid and damaged goods. A trade that depends on some mystery team taking him probably won’t happen.
Maybe the Nets agree to take him in order to dump Johnson and lower their luxury-tax bill. Or maybe the Cavaliers want Johnson so badly, they send draft picks to entice Brooklyn – or a third team like the the 76ers – to take Varejao.
So, I wouldn’t call this dead yet. But don’t hold your breath.