On the other hand…
Marc Stein of ESPN:
In the final season of his contract, Johnson has a salary of $24,894,863. I wouldn’t rush to sacrifice any of that money for freedom to pick a new team. Johnson will hit free agency soon enough, anyway.
The Nets have clear incentive to buy him out, because they’re not going anywhere with him, anyway. And he’s no longer a selling point for fans. If they can save any money in a buyout, that’s to their advantage.
But he’d obviously have to agree.
There’s a case that Johnson could boost his stock for next summer by playing better in a limited role elsewhere. He’s averaging just 11.1 points on 36.9% shooting, including 32.5% on 3-pointers, in Brooklyn. But at age 34, he might be facing bigger problems than environment. He might just be over the hill.
By staying with the Nets, Johnson can at least argue they’re mostly to blame for his struggles. It’s not difficult to see the dysfunction around him.
If Johnson holds firm on this no-buyout stance, he’ll likely finish the season in Brooklyn. Teams will struggle to aggregate enough salary to match his without including at least one player more valuable than him.
But I’m not entirely convinced Johnson will remain steadfast to not taking a buyout. Remember, the Nets weren’t going to buy out Deron Williams until they did. Johnson gives himself leverage to keep more of his salary by insisting he won’t accept a buyout until he actually does.
So, whether or not Johnson wants a buyout, I’m not sure the leak would look any different.