Joe Johnson would stir the interest of the Heat if he buys his way off the Nets, Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald hears (Twitter link). Johnson said today that he doesn’t know whether he’ll negotiate a buyout but didn’t rule out the idea and added that he’ll have a talk with agent Jeff Schwartz in the next week, as the swingman told reporters, including Andy Vasquez of The Record. The 34-year-old Johnson is making close to $24.895MM, a difficult salary to fit in a trade, and it doesn’t appear as though the Heat see him as a trade target.
The Heat are without combo guard Tyler Johnson, who’s scheduled to undergo rotator cuff surgery this week, for at least two months, and they don’t have an open roster spot to make an addition. Miami could always waive a player and risk eating his salary, but that would be a risky proposition financially. The Heat are faced with either clearing about $5.5MM in salary, likely via trade, or paying repeat-offender luxury tax penalties at season’s end.
Midseason signees usually end up with the prorated minimum salary, though particularly attractive buyout candidates sometimes command more. The Heat have about $2.85MM on their taxpayer’s mid-level exception to spend, but doing so would impose a further financial burden. Johnson is averaging 11.3 points per game, his fewest since the 2002/03 season, and shooting a career-worst 39% from the field, but he put up 13.5 points a night and shot 48.5% in January. Johnson has said multiple times this season that he’ll prioritize finding a winning team when he next hits free agency, and the Heat, at No. 3 in the Eastern Conference, would seemingly fit that bill.
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