ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported on July 5 the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in trading for Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in trading for Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson.
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According to a July 5 update from ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst, the Cavaliers might use cap space they will obtain if they decide to trade backup center Brendan Haywood for Johnson.
Haywood has a non-guaranteed contract worth $10.5 million if he is released before Aug. 1. Cleveland has been on the lookout for much-needed outside shooting, and Johnson aptly fills that void, per Windhorst.
For their part, the Nets are shopping Johnson because they are in danger of paying the repeater tax. Windhorst describes this as "the most punitive luxury penalty in league history."
ESPN's Marc Stein (via Windhorst) reported over the weekend that Brooklyn has been in discussions with several teams, one of which is the Memphis Grizzlies.
Windhorst stresses Johnson, who will earn $24.8 million in 2015-16, is the second-highest paid player in the NBA. If the Nets acquire Haywood and then trade him, they will be able to avoid paying millions in dollars of luxury-tax payments.
However, Windhorst also says it would "take more than just Haywood to make the contract values match in a deal between the Cavs and Nets."
Because of Johnson's massive contract, adding a player such as Cavaliers forward-center Anderson Varejao would make the deal for the Nets star more realistic. Varejao, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in Dec. 2014 and sat out the rest of the 2014-15 NBA season, will earn $9.6 million next season, per ESPN.
The Cavaliers are inclined to move Varejao because of their interest in free-agent power forward David West, who has expressed interest in signing with a championship contender. Cleveland has been reaching out to West in an attempt to sign him, per Windhorst.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Joe Vardon says the most the Cavaliers can pay West, who opted out of his $12.6 million player option with the Indiana Pacers, is $3.4 million.
Cleveland does not have much wiggle room in cap space after power forward Kevin Love agreed to a five-year, $110 million contract on July 1. Vardon also expects four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who opted out of his $21.57 million deal with Cleveland on July 1, to re-sign.
Vardon expects Tristan Thompson, who is close to agreeing to a five-year, $80 million contract with the Cavaliers, to come off the bench at power forward. Timofey Mozgov and Varejao should man the center slot for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers already have $145 million committed to Love, Mozgov and Varejao for the 2015-16 NBA season, per Vardon.
"LeBron's not the problem, having three elite bigs is the problem," a league source told The Northeast Ohio Media Group regarding Cleveland's desire to lock up West to a deal.
Aside from the Cavaliers, the San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards are also reportedly interested in West, per Vardon. Joining Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge is a particularly attractive option for West.
Vardon emphasizes James cannot help recruit free agents until the Thompson deal has been finalized. Once that is done and his own deal has been set, James can help lure West or other big-name free agents to Cleveland.
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