After agreeing to a buyout, the Brooklyn Nets have waived forward Joe Johnson. Will the Los Angeles Clippers target the 7-time All-Star?
If you’re interested in the NBA buyout market, here’s some news that’ll grab your attention: the Brooklyn Nets have requested waivers for seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson, as the two parties have agreed to a contract buyout.
A rumored transaction throughout the entire season as the Nets flirted with a Johnson trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Johnson himself denied wanting a buyout leading up to the trade deadline, with Joe hitting the unrestricted free agent market before March 1, he’s eligible to participate in the playoffs. And that’s where the fun begins.
Earlier today, when it was first discovered the Nets and Johnson were working toward a buyout, a number of playoff teams were linked with the former All-Star, including the Cavaliers and Johnson’s former team in the Atlanta Hawks.
As you can see, the Clippers aren’t listed by Stein. Odds are that remains? Unlikely. We know Doc Rivers is attempting to do as much on the fly to retool this bench after failing to do so in free agency this past summer and Joe Johnson fits that criteria. And there’s the discussion you can’t avoid when speaking on Doc the team president: if you’ve succeeded with Doc (Green, Pierce) or against Doc (Turkoglu, etc.), you’re in his favor and likely to be obtained if the feelings are mutual — for those wondering, the Clippers could clear a roster spot by refusing to sign Alex Stepheson to a second 10-day contract.
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Some truths about Joe Johnson: he’s not the player he was a year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago. In 57 games in Brooklyn this season, Johnson averaged 12.5 points, his lowest mark since ’02-03 in Phoenix. The field-goal percentage isn’t pretty (40%) but the three-point shooting is at 37% on 4.3 attempts per. And as Joe’s efficiency has declined, so has Joe’s ability to impact the game in other areas, namely offensively, which is an issue in its own right when thinking on how Johnson fits with this Clippers team but not a bad enough one that’d keep him out of the rotation upon arrival (for proof, see Pierce, Paul).
If Rivers sees Johnson up to the task of defending opposing wings on a nightly basis in his mind, Joe could step into the starting small forward role, taking pressure of the surrounding scorers on offense thanks to his ability to create and spread the floor. In doing so, Jeff Green would remain a reserve and Luc Mbah a Moute could become a seldom-used tool for Doc to deploy when the defense and additional rebounding is needed.
And like the Jeff Green acquisition, if getting Johnson means less minutes for Paul Pierce come playoff team, the signing would be a win for all parties: the Clippers improve their personnel, even if the improvement is marginal at best, and Johnson attempts to put himself in a position to win a championship.
The Clippers would give Johnson a smaller chance to compete for a ring than Cleveland, and maybe Oklahoma City and Toronto, but there’s no denying the Clippers are one of the better second-tier contenders in the league, aka the non-Warriors/Spurs division.
Once Joe Johnson clears waivers, we’ll learn soon after where he decides to go. Los Angeles isn’t the best place for him but it’s one that fills his rumored desire to compete for a ring and being in that position could be the link that sends iso-Joe back west for the first time since being a Phoenix Sun.