Joe Johnson is not planning on staying on the market for long. The Brooklyn Nets have successfully agreed to a contract buyout and have waived the guard. Now, several teams are looking at him as the missing piece to their playoff picture. While several teams have come forward as being interested in acquiring Johnson, the Miami Heat are the frontrunners to get him under contract, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.
Johnson and the Heat are moving close to a deal for the guard in hopes that he can help fill in for the injuries that have hit the roster. He has averaged 11.8 points and 3.9 rebounds this season, as the second-highest paid player in the league with a $24.9 million salary this year. Johnson wanted to sign with a playoff contender, and the Heat appear to have won the race.
Several teams were recruiting Johnson as Dwyane Wade was reportedly making the sell for Johnson to head to South Beach, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald. With injuries to Tyler Johnson and Chris Bosh, the Heat needed Johnson more than anyone else. The Cleveland Cavaliers were trying to sell Johnson on signing with the team currently leading the Eastern Conference, but the Heat offer more playing time for the guard.
"If he decides to come [to Cleveland], it'd be great," James said, via ESPN.com. "But if not, we'll continue to move on with what we have."
Bringing on Johnson helps lessen the blow if Bosh sits out the rest of the season. The Heat have not gotten too many updates on the forward as reports fly about Bosh potentially missing the rest of the season. Team president Pat Riley told media that they are taking things one day at a time with Bosh while Wade stressed his teammate is in good spirits while he takes blood thinners for a clot issue. The idea of losing Bosh for the season hurts any chance the Heat might have at beating a team like Cleveland. Luol Deng and Justise Winslow can only do so much. Adding Johnson could get their offense moving again.
"You have to ask him what he wants to do -- that's not my position," Wade said, via ESPN.com. "As a friend of mine, all I care about his how he's feeling in his everyday life. As far as health, he's feeling good. He's been around every day. He's been positive. From there, it's a decision he's going to have to make."