Joe Johnson entered the 2015-2016 NBA season a member of the Brooklyn Nets, making $24.8 million this year. Per ESPN, that $24.8 million salary is the 2nd highest in the NBA this season, only behind Kobe Bryant.
One thing we knew coming into the year about Johnson was that he wasn’t worth such a high price tag anymore, and that his team, the Nets weren’t going to compete for anything other than one of the NBA’s worst records. The inevitable was that Johnson would leave the Nets this year one way or another.
Trading Johnson with his contract is basically the definition of impossible. Most teams can’t match that money, and most teams also don’t want to lose Johnson after a year and have to pay him millions of dollars. That’s why on Thursday, the Nets and Johnson agreed to a contract buyout.
Johnson’s buyout means the Nets will still be paying him, and that he is free to sign with any other NBA team. The teams that were interested in the veteran forward Johnson were the Hawks, Cavaliers, Thunder, and the Heat. On Friday, Johnson agreed to sign with the Heat.
The deal was able to officially get done on Saturday right after the Heat lost to the Boston Celtics. The Heat release a statement on the signing of Johnson:
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed seven-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
While the Heat are back in the situation where they have to pay the luxury tax (for now), they had to go out and get Johnson. The Heat have been playing good basketball since the all-star break, but they’ve made just 19 threes in five games since the break. He’s 7th all-time in three-pointers made among active players.
Johnson, 34, appeared in 57 games for the Nets this season, averaging 11.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. His 85 three-pointers made lead all Nets players and would lead Chris Bosh by four on the Heat. Expect to see Johnson have a significant role with the Heat, especially in clutch situations.
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