The Brooklyn Nets have waived forward Joe Johnson, the team announced Thursday.
“The Nets want to thank Joe for his many contributions to the team and the organization,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “Joe has been a quality professional since joining the Nets four years ago, was a valued member of three playoff teams, and provided many thrilling moments for his teammates and Nets’ fans. We wish him much success in the future.”
Multiple playoff teams have already inquired about Johnson, including the Cavaliers, Heat, Thunder, Raptors, Hawks, Celtics and Rockets, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Stein later reported that the Cavs were the top contenders for Johnson.
Friday, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported the Heat have emerged as the frontrunner.
Johnson, 34, has averaged 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 57 starts for Brooklyn this season.
Marks said during a radio appearance earlier in the day that Johnson should be able to go to a winning team.
“I think he’s deserved the right to [play on a playoff team if that’s what he wants],” Marks said on WFAN.
A seven-time All Star, Johnson was traded from the Hawks to the Nets before the 2012–13 season, and is in the final year of a six-year, $123.7 million contract he signed with Atlanta in 2010.
The Nets have a 15–42 record, the second-worst mark in the Eastern Conference, and a departure from Brooklyn could allow the 15-year veteran to play in his 11th NBA playoffs.
Any deal must be completed by March 1 in order for Johnson to be eligible to play in the postseason.
- Erin Flynn