The forgotten man in the Brooklyn Nets’ offseason may be starting shooting guard Joe Johnson.
The Nets acquired Johnson prior to last season as a guy who can play every day, scoring 15-20 points per game, and hit clutch shots. He did this last season, but does Brooklyn want this from him again?
Looking at the Nets’ lineup, they really don’t need a guy like Joe Johnson, who has made a living in isolation situations. Sure, he is a very good shooter too, but for the amount of money they are paying him, plus the amount of luxury tax from his contract, he probably is not worth it.
Johnson made a lot of clutch shots for the Nets last season, but now Brooklyn has Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, 3 players who have been known to make clutch shots in their careers.
Also, how much worse would the team be if Joe Johnson wasn’t a part of it? They could move Paul Pierce over to the shooting guard position while putting Andrei Kirilenko into the starting lineup as a small forward. Kirilenko has always been a starter in his career. Another option would be starting Jason Terry at the 2-guard. Are those lineups really that much worse than a starting lineup including Joe Johnson? Probably not.
Sure, Joe adds to the Nets’ depth, but he is probably not a necessary player on this team, especially for the money he is being paid.
The best option for Brooklyn now would be to trade Johnson, but would any team want his contract? He will be paid nearly $70 million over the next 3 seasons. Of course, he can still play well and is not extremely prone like Amare Stoudemire on the Manhattan Knicks, but most teams probably still don’t believe he would be worth that much money.
If a team would be willing to trade for him, it is unlikely the Nets would be able to get anything back other than a couple of future draft picks or other players with bad contracts.