clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA rumors: Potential buy-out candidate Joe Johnson fits with the Cavs

If he becomes available, the Cavs would be smart to sign Joe Johnson.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to improve their roster for the stretch run. While a major trade of the team's core seems very unlikely, minor moves or free agent pickups could make a big difference down the stretch run.

When I look at the options that have been publicly mentioned, few appear to be more attractive in my eyes than the possibility of adding Joe Johnson if and when the Brooklyn Nets buy him out. According to Chris Haynes of, the Cavaliers would "snatch him up" should he be bought out.

I know what you're thinking, how could "iso Joe" help out the Cavaliers. While Johnson is far from perfect, his skill set could still be incredibly valuable for the team. He's still a capable defender and while he is in the middle of a down year, he is still shooting 37.1 percent from behind the arc. A respectable figure for an aging player on a team with no legitimate perimeter threats outside of himself. He would likely see a boost in production as a result of the open looks he would receive in the Cavs offense, the same way J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert did last season.

At 6'7", Johnson also would give the team a legitimate backup small forward to LeBron James and someone that could be tremendously useful in small ball situations. For example, should the Warriors run their death lineup, the Cavs could counter with LeBron and Tristan Thompson as their bigs with a combination of Johnson, Shumpert, Smith or Dellavedova alongside Kyrie Irving. While it's not perfect, it's an inexpensive adjustment the team can make for a three and defense player without sacrificing any of their core. Johnson is a talented shooter that moves around intelligently off ball and is a capable of scoring in the post. He was an all star as recently as two years ago and still might have some fire left in the tank.

There's always going to be some risk when you integrate a player that's used to shouldering a larger load than he'd be asked to carry in Cleveland. But at 34 years old, I'd be willing to take a chance on Johnson being willing to sacrifice for the chance at a title. There's certainly no guarantee that he'd be able to contribute at a high level, but considering it would cost the Cavs nothing in return it seems like a no brain decision to make a move for him. It's not a major shake up, but the team has likely had it's fill of those this season. At some point they need to build some chemistry and figure out exactly what they have. A move like this could prove to be a difference maker, or not, but it's a low risk move that's worth exploring should the opportunity come up.