Joe Johnson back in green? Nets buyout is a win for Celtics regardless of where he ends up
|The Celtics drafted Joe Johnson with the 10th pick in 2001, but traded him after just 48 games.|
ESPN's Marc Stein broke some news this morning of great interest to Celtics fans:
Joe Johnson and the Brooklyn Nets have opened buyout negotiations, ESPN has learned— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 25, 2016
Stein's follow-up tweet then added even more intrigue to the situation:
Sources tell ESPN several playoff teams (Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, OKC and Toronto) are already in pursuit of Joe Johnson— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 25, 2016
First thing's first: Johnson's time in Brooklyn appears to be coming to an end, which is clearly good news for that unprotected first-round pick the Celtics will be getting from the 15-42 Nets. The 34-year-old is Brooklyn's third-leading scorer (with Jarrett Jack out) at 11.8 points per game, and is averaging a team-leading 33.9 minutes per contest. He's also one of just four Nets to suit up for every game they've played this season.
Joe Johnson has quietly racked up better than 60 percent true shooting in January and February.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) February 25, 2016
After the Nets buy out Joe Johnson, I'm starting a Kickstarter fund w/Celts fans to pay Prokhorov NOT to play Brook Lopez in March/April.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 25, 2016
Now on to Part 2, could Johnson really end up back in Boston?
MIA, HOU, OKC all tax and won't spend. CLE, TOR can only offer min. ATL, BOS both have RME. https://t.co/hiLA2YGqOt— Ryan Bernardoni (@dangercart) February 25, 2016
RME stands for Room Mid-Level Exception. Here's the complicated explanation if you're interested. What it means is this:
Celtics still have full room exception to offer ($2.8 million). https://t.co/t7lH5rJ1vd— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) February 25, 2016
Of the teams on Stein's list, only Boston and Atlanta can pay Johnson that much.
Would Johnson be a good fit with the C's? Maybe. Obviously Boston wouldn't want him to play anywhere near the amount he has been in Brooklyn. But consider this: The closest thing the Celtics currently have to a veteran scoring presence off the bench is 27-year-old Evan Turner (the third-oldest Celtic after Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko, both 28). It's also no secret that the C's offense has struggled dramatically in crunch time this season, and Joe Johnson has hit a ton of big shots over the course of his 15-year career.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan