Joe Johnson has been reluctant to accept a contract buyout from the Brooklyn Nets. According to latest rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers is being viewed as a possible landing spot for Johnson. What changes will Lakers make before the NBA Trade Deadline?
The Nets, trying to shake up their organization with wholesale changes, are expected to trade Johnson before the February 18 deadline. Johnson, who stands to make a whopping $ 24.8 million this season, has steady regressed over the last few years.
During the off-season, the Nets bought out Deron Williams’ contract, allowing the point guard to join the Dallas Mavericks. If Johnson continues to refuse the buyout, the veteran would be traded.
Johnson, 35, is expected to become a veteran role player for a championship contender starting next season. Obviously, his salary will take a major cut too. If Johnson isn’t traded before the deadline, the veteran swingman is expected to join a contender like Cleveland Cavaliers or Los Angeles Clippers where he could provide valuable points off the bench.
The Lakers can package the duo of Nick Young and Roy Hibbert in a deal to land Johnson. The deal would enable the Purple & Gold to get rid of Young and his remaining contract. With Hibbert on the last year of his deal, there is little to no possibility of L.A. re-signing him over the offseason.
Of course, Hibbert isn’t needed by the Nets since they already have Brook Lopez. However, Hibbert’s $15.5 million contract is a bit easier to trade than Johnson’s gigantic contract. The Nets could always acquire Hibbert and trade him to another team. That way, Brooklyn would open up cap space in excess of $60 million heading into the summer.
Since the Lakers aren’t competing for a playoffs berth, Johnson’s veteran leadership would help the development of young studs D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. The deal could work as a win-win situation for both teams. Stay tuned for more NBA Trade Rumors ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.