Nets waive James Johnson likely signals Kessler Edwards will be here for postseason

James Johnson and Kessler Edwards

The Nets placed James Johnson on waivers on Thursday afternoon, the team announced just before 2:30 p.m.

It ends the 62 game run Johnson had in Brooklyn after signing with the team in the offseason and would allow the Nets to convert Kessler Edward’s two-deal to a standard NBA contract so that he can play in the playoffs. The regular season ends on Sunday after the Nets host the Indiana Pacers.

Johnson had missed the last two games with a non-COVID illness, but did see heavy minutes against the Atlanta Hawks last Saturday. He had averaged 5.5 points. 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.2 minutes per game this season.

James Johnson can be claimed or signed by another team, but he would not be eligible to play in the postseason.

The move paves the way for the Nets to put Edwards in a position for him to be able to play for them in the playoffs. The two-way deal that he was signed under would not have allowed him to suit up for the Nets after Sunday.

Edwards, a former second-round pick, has had a successful rookie season in Brooklyn and appeared in 46 games so far this year. The 21-year-old, like many of the other rookies this season, took advantage of the injury and COVID wave that struck the Nets this season and made a mark on the coaching staff.

Nets head coach Steve Nash hinted that the team may move to keep Edwards around for the playoffs earlier this week. Nash also reiterated that the team loves having Edwards around prior to the Nets’ win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

“First of all he’s a great kid, he works hard,” Nash said. “His physical profile is great defensively for us on the perimeter and unique. And he’s made threes. People have to respect him out there cause he can really shoot, so he spaces the floor and makes some shots for us.”

No official move has been made yet to change Edwards’ contract, it’s likely only a matter of time before it occurs. Teams must have their postseason rosters set with 15 players and no two-way contracts by 3 p.m. on Monday.