Marc Stein: ESPN sources say Nets vet Joe Johnson, to t…

More on Joe Johnson Buyout

Marc Stein: Perhaps that position changes once the deadline passes if Joe Johnson, as expected, remains in Brooklyn. But still no push for a buyout yet.
Andy Vasquez: Joe Johnson admits it's tough with Nets, but says he won't request a trade. Leaves open buyout possibility, though: http://wp.me/p23cP0-Ex - Ethan J. Skolnick: Tax concerns aside, I'm told this would pique Heat's interest
Keep an eye on buyout talks with Joe Johnson in late February. With Brooklyn out of the playoff mix, talks could rekindle. If bought out, Johnson will have a list of championship-level teams vying for his services.
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.
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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Lakers hesitant to include multiple draft picks in potential Russell Westbrook trade

The Russell Westbrook situation does seem a little more interesting, at least in the sense that the Lakers might have more control than they do in talks with James. The team, after all, could always add more stuff to any trade offers in an effort to unload Westbrook. And depending on what the expectations are in return, they could simply just keep piling on the limited trade assets that they have (pick swaps, second-round picks, etc.). So far, that’s a road the Lakers haven’t seriously taken, Rob Pelinka surprising plenty of folks around the NBA with his hesitancy to attach multiple draft picks with Westbrook in trade talks.
Note: Those two firsts might not even be enough to entice Brooklyn to take on Westbrook. And there are the Lakers’ reasons for hesitancy with Kyrie Irving — his vaccination status, injury history and track record of saying he wants to stay somewhere before signing somewhere different — that have already and will certainly further be considered before talking about two firsts.
If and when Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell get traded, the space to make a Westbrook trade probably opens a little wider with the costs getting cleared. Lakers sources insist they have options beyond the ones that have been reported (Irving, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and others). Time should better reveal those once the bigger moves get made.
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