The Nets have waived Joe Johnson, the team announced via press release. The statement didn’t refer to it as a buyout, but the sides were in buyout talks, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported earlier today. The 34-year-old was making almost $24.895MM in the final year of his contract and likely relinquished a portion of that in exchange for the chance to hit free agency.
“The Nets want to thank Joe for his many contributions to the team and the organization,” Nets GM Sean Marks said in the team’s 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.”
No team has enough cap room or any exception large enough to claim Johnson off waivers, so he’s poised to hit the open market Saturday. He’d been planning to sign with the Cavaliers in the event of a buyout, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears he has interest in rejoining the Hawks, the team he played for from 2005 to 2012. The Cavs and Hawks are among a group in pursuit of the 15th-year veteran that also includes the Celtics, Rockets, Heat, Thunder and Raptors, according to Stein. Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald first reported the Heat’s interest weeks ago, but Miami is unable to sign anyone prior to March 6th without crossing the luxury tax line.
The move leaves the Nets with two open roster spots. Brooklyn saved more than $1.5MM through a buyout deal with Andrea Bargnani this past weekend. Marks has been on the job for only a week, but both Bargnani and Johnson have hit waivers in that brief time. The Nets also released Deron Williams in a buyout deal this past summer under former GM Billy King.