Come Feb. 19, the day after the NBA trade deadline, the smart money is on Joe Johnson still being a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Mainly because as of right now they don’t even have a general manager in place to set up and approve a trade. But even if they did, moving Johnson’s $24.9 million salary for a rental player (he’s a free agent after this season) is going to be next to impossible.
Johnson would love to be on a winning team — which is not the Brooklyn Nets, his current home — but don’t expect him to go pushing for a trade, he told Andy Vasquez of the Bergen Record.
Of course, if Johnson publicly said he wanted to be traded, fines and the wrath of the NBA would rain down on him, so he will not say that publicly. If he pushed for a trade, it would be a back channel communication, but one that would be clear to the Nets. Of course, this brings us back to the Nets not having a GM.
If he doesn’t get moved, what about a buyout? He takes less of his money owed and is released as a free agent, where there would be a demand for his services from contending teams (just not at his current price).
A buyout is a possibility if Johnson and his agent get word that a playoff bound team (a high level one) would snap him up. And if Johnson was willing to take less cash to get out of Brooklyn. None of that is certain.
What is certain is Johnson doesn’t want to walk away from the game.
Johnson is averaging 11.3 points a game and shooting 39 percent from three, his skills are declining, but he still has value. As a veteran role player off the bench, he could help a quality team, he’s going to get offers. Just at $20 million or so less than he made this season.
Johnson becomes a guy to watch after the trade deadline. If the Nets get a GM.