Brooklyn Nets Trade Rumors: Joe Johnson To Detroit Pistons?


Brooklyn Nets Trade Rumors: Is Joe Johnson On His Way To The Motor City?

While the New York Knicks have dominated headlines in New York recently because of Carmelo Anthony’s shut down and Amar’e Stoudemire agreeing to a buyout, the Brooklyn Nets haven’t just sat by idly. The Nets have some work to do if they want to make the postseason, but they also have to keep an eye on the future, which might be the bleakest of any team in the NBA. With that they put their ‘Big 3’ Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez on the trade block. All three have had varying levels of interest around the NBA, but in the last couple of days Johnson has been the one to receive the most.

It has been reported that the Detroit Pistons have reached out to the Nets to inquire about the availability of Johnson. The Nets’ shooting guard/small forward has never lacked talent, it is his albatross of a contract that has been his biggest problem. He has arguably the worst contract in the NBA, as he is making $23.2 million this season and $24.9 million next season.

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That would be a tough number for any team seemingly not named the Philadelphia 76ers to swallow, especially with the numbers that Johnson is putting up. The averages of 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 35.6 minutes don’t sound bad, but this is the third consecutive season Johnson’s scoring output has dropped.

But Johnson would bring more to the table than the stats mentioned above. He has shown time and time again that he is one of the best clutch performers in the NBA, making game-winning and go-ahead baskets late in crunch times numerous times. He would also bring a veteran presence to the Pistons that they sorely lack currently. Very few players on the Pistons currently know what it takes to make and play in the playoffs, and that is something Johnson would bring.

For the Nets, getting Johnson off their books would be a relief to their salary. The Nets currently have the highest payroll in the NBA at over $91 million, and are on pace to pay around $20 million in luxury taxes. Moving Johnson would lower that number some, which has to be a goal of the Nets front office.

The other question would be what exactly would they expect in return? There are no moves imminent according to sources that talked to, but there have been some discussions revolving around injured point guard Brandon Jennings and expiring contracts for Johnson. Is that something that would entice the Nets?

The 25-year old Jennings tore his ACL in late January and was having a solid season after Josh Smith was waived, much like many of his Pistons’ teammates. Jennings when healthy would be a good acquisition for the Nets, but at this point it would be a straight salary dump for the Nets. If acquiring an injured player and expiring contracts doesn’t scream salary dump, I don’t know what does then.

While Jennings would represent an upgrade for the Nets at point guard once he is healthy, it is hard to imagine the Nets trading their most consistent player this season to a team that is challenging them for the postseason. It should be considered a long shot for the Nets to move Johnson, especially to a team like the Pistons, unless they are blown away with a deal.

Next: What lessons did we learn from Brooklyn Nets' first 52 games?

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