Report: Joe Johnson wants Jazz to trade him
The Jazz are riding rookie Donovan Mitchell’s ups and downs, and they’re 3.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.
Where does that leave 36-year-old Joe Johnson?
Marc Stein of The York Times:
Veteran scorer Joe Johnson is angling behind the scenes for a trade out of Utah, according to league sources. Will be interesting to see if he becomes a buyout candidate for contenders should no deal materialize before the Feb. 8 trade buzzer— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 1, 2018
Johnson is earning $10,505,000 this season in the final year of his contract. Such a large expiring deal could be useful to facilitate a trade. So, I doubt Utah buys him out until after the trade deadline.
At that point, Johnson will still be owed $3,679,718. How much would he relinquish to become a free agent?
Johnson is having the worst season of his career. He’s no longer getting to the rim or drawing fouls, and he’s bricking far too many 3-pointers. Perhaps, he’s conserving energy for a playoff run. His isolation scoring tends to be more valuable in the postseason, when the game slows down. But the simplest explanation: Johnson has just aged past effectiveness.
Still, in his 17th season, Johnson carries a positive reputation. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good team signs him post-buyout.
Again, his expiring contract could facilitate a trade with teams at every level. If a good team winds up with him, it might just keep him. If he lands on a bad team or stays with a steady or sinking Utah, a buyout would make sense. However, a trade to a bad team – like to the Bulls with a pick for Nikola Mirotic – would mean re-starting buyout negotiations.