Storyline: Joe Johnson Buyout

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The Hawks are interested in bringing back Joe Johnson. And a reunion is a real possibility. The Hawks are one of several teams with serious interest in signing the seven-time All-Star and Johnson has interest in the returning to Atlanta, according to several people familiar with the situation. The Nets have begun negotiations to buyout Johnson’s contract, according to a report by ESPN’s Mark Stein. Johnson would have 48 hours to clear waivers once a buyout is reached. He would then become a free agent.

Brooklyn is aware of the ballpark figure it would take for Johnson to agree to a buyout, a source said. The way sources characterize the situation, Brooklyn has to decide whether they want to help the Cavaliers, or allow Johnson to play out his contract as is. Johnson, I’m told, isn’t overly concerned about whether a buyout is negotiated. His primary focus is just playing. A player who is bought out has to be signed with his new team by March 1 to be playoff eligible. Cleveland considered trading for Johnson last summer.

As a scoring, over-used veteran on an underwhelming team and a big expiring contract, 34-year-old, seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson is a prime candidate for a potential buyout, one of the few potential impact players that has a chance of switching teams without a trade. He’s a notable enough candidate that he can’t avoid the rumors. “It’s kinda hard (not to listen to it),” Johnson said Wednesday night about a potential buyout or trade. “It is what it is, man. It comes with the territory. Obviously me being an older player, I’ve seen it all, so nothing surprises me.”

Sources close to the process say that there isn’t a lot of urgency to make a deal before the deadline. Instead, the priority is to get new leadership in place and let the future of the team take shape that way. That’s not to say the Nets wouldn’t do a deal, they’re just not overly active in looking for one. The real question is will Johnson opt to leave some of his guaranteed cash on the table if he is not moved in order to gain his release via a buyout. Today, his side says absolutely not. However, there is a sense that once the deadline passes, that stance could change.

Joe Johnson buyout?

Where will Joe Johnson be playing in 2016-17? Stein: Not. Brooklyn. That’s about as definitive as we can get this far away from free agency. But the more interesting question might be: Will Johnson finish this season in Brooklyn? There are some folks around the league who wonder if the Nets would consent to buying out Johnson after the Feb. 18 trade deadline if they can’t move him. The Nets would naturally dismiss any such suggestions, given that they have no other choice but to try to win as many games as they can before sending their unprotected 2016 top pick to Boston. But they also frequently insisted that they wouldn’t buy out Deron Williams before ultimately doing so.
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February 17, 2018 | 4:17 pm EST Update