Two days ago, two different reports came out about the Nets, whose 1st round draft picks the Celtics will have for the next 3 years. ESPN reported that not only do the Nets want to trade Joe Johnson, which is so obvious that you couldn’t call it news, but that the Nets and Grizzlies had specifically talked about a trade. Later, SI reported that both Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young are expected to re-sign in Jay-Z land. Make no mistake, these reports are related and the timing of the two in comparison to each other are no coincidence.
Today, Lopez and Young re-signed for $60M over 3 and $50M over 4, respectively, which sucks for the Celtics. The Nets wouldn’t have had any cap space to do anything without Lopez and young re-signing, as they are already close to the cap with just Johnson, Deron “Paul Pierce’s bitch” Williams, and Jarrett Jack. The Celtics draft in the Nets’ spot in the 1st round each of the next 3 years, and the Nets just assured that they won’t be drafting in the Top 5 barring injuries.
And I don’t think the Nets are gonna find a taker for Johnson. I think this report today was all spin from GM Billy King, whose best asset has been his political skills. Sure, the Grizzlies probably “talked” with the Nets about Johnson, but the talks likely weren’t that serious. Because Jeff Green exercised his player option for next season (interlude: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA JEFF GREEN $9.2 MILLION HAHAHAHAHA), the Grizz are somewhere in the low 50s in millions of dollars on their cap. That leaves them with between $15 and $20 million in space, and they’re gonna wanna re-sign Marc Gasol. (They are not stupid enough to try and replace the starpower of Gasol with the “starpower” of Johnson, luckily.) So rule out cap space as a way for Memphis to get Johnson. Green is the only expendable expiring contract of any significant money on the Grizzlies roster, meaning that they don’t have enough to trade for Johnson, which would require them sending about $16-18 million, I believe, in order to take him back.
The Grizzlies probably won’t get him, and we need to hope that no other team trades for him. if he gets bought out for anything close to his full salary, then that’d be even better, because the Nets swallow the cap space without getting his services of actually playing basketball.
The fact that the Nets likely won’t be able to trade Johnson can be either good of bad. On one hand, even if they traded him, they’re still more than $30 million over the cap, so they wouldn’t have cap space even if they dumped his entire contract on some idiot, which is already a pipe dream. Keeping Johnson would give the Nets his services, however, and he’s not terrible at basketball by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand, trading him for nothing just to save a few bucks would hurt the Nets in the win/loss column, so we should hope that they’re cheap.
What I’m like 1% worried about is the Nets finding a team who would love to take Johnson’s contract just as a huge expiring deal and give back overpriced contracts from functional players, which may hurt the Nets’ cap space next year and the year after, but would help them out in the standings next season. That definitely worries me. So this is a huge clusterfuck going forward for the Nets, and the Celtics just have to hope that Billy King screws it up as badly as he did with the Pierce/Garnett trade.
The only thing for sure right now is that the re-signings of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young is not good for the Celtics and their hopes to get a high pick next year. But at least Deron Williams is Deron Williams, Joe Johnson is 34, and Brook Lopez has a huge injury history. They can still implode next season.