Joe Johnson, acquired from the Jazz by the Kings in one of Thursday’s three-team trades, will “definitely” get a buyout if he wants one from Sacramento, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. However, according to Stein, the Kings would love to hang onto another veteran – Vince Carter – for the rest of the season.
There’s a sense that the Kings would be open to working with Carter on a buyout if an intriguing landing spot surfaces for him in the weeks leading up to March 1, Stein reports (via Twitter). Still, Sacramento is hoping that he elects to stick around and act as a veteran mentor to the team’s young core.
Carter is on a one-year, $8MM deal with the Kings, and has played a limited role for the club this season. In 34 games, the 41-year-old has averaged 5.0 PPG and 2.1 RPG with a shooting line of .385/.367/.667 in 16.6 minutes per contest. His locker room presence has been important though, as the Kings’ in-season goals have transitioned — the club initially hoped to compete for a playoff spot, but now is focused on developing young players.
If the Kings were to grant Carter a buyout, one scenario could involve a return to his old team in Toronto. Multiple sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca that the Raptors front office has internally discussed the possibility of signing Carter if he reaches free agency, though he’s just one of several possible targets Toronto is keeping an eye on, Grange notes.
As for Johnson, we heard shortly after Thursday’s trade that he was expected to seek a buyout from the Kings, and that Sacramento was expected to be amenable to one. The Warriors and Celtics were mentioned as a pair of early frontrunners for the veteran forward, with the Thunder cited as a potential suitor too, per Kelly Iko of ESPN 97.5 Houston (Twitter link). The Rockets would also have interest in Johnson, according to David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link).
There’s no deadline for teams to finalize buyouts with players, but they have to happen by March 1 in order for those players to retain their postseason eligibility. Players waived after March 1 can’t participate in the playoffs if they sign with a new team.