It looks like, as of now, the Joe Johnson-to-Cavaliers trade talks are dead, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. NetsDaily has the transcription of what Broussard said on ESPN, noting the Cavaliers balked at the high luxury tax payment that would have come with a Joe Johnson trade:
The Cavaliers are balking right now because of the luxury tax –we talked about that yesterday. It would be $104 million. luxury tax, if they traded for Joe Johnson. That’s why they’re looking at other situations and we know Jamal Crawford is one of the top sixth men in the league. He’s somewhat like J.R. Smith but he’s better and more reliable and of course one of the most clutch players in the league. So there’s talk right there with the Clippers. Right now, I think the Cavs see this as more of a favorable option than Joe Johnson.
The trade would have been a financial move with short-term relief and long-term implications for Brooklyn. The deal would have likely been Johnson for Brendan Haywood and Anderson Varejao, with the Nets waiving Haywood’s $10 million contract before August 1. That would save the Nets a ton of money in luxury tax payments this upcoming season, particularly since the Nets are in the punitive “repeater tax” territory.
But Varejao’s contract is guaranteed through the 2016-17 season, and giving valuable cap space to a 32-year-old center that’s missed over 51 games in four of his last five seasons would’ve made offering a big contract in the 2016-17 free agent market close to impossible.
Johnson’s deal is an expiring contract worth close to $25 million, which makes constructing any deal difficult: most deals that would make sense for another team would likely come with a price tag beyond this year, which would hamper Brooklyn’s flexibility going forward.