The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to make an upgrade using Brendan Haywood‘s $10.5 million non-guaranteed contract for next season, and trading for Brooklyn Nets veteran Joe Johnson could be a possibility, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Johnson is set to be the second-highest paid player in the league next season with a contract of $24.8 million (only Kobe Bryant is owed more), and the Nets are trying to ship him off in order to decrease their luxury tax burden. Acquiring Haywood in a Johnson deal would help with that, as Haywood could simply be waived after the deal.
The Cavaliers could look to package Haywood with Anderson Varejao, who’s set to make over $9.6 million next season. Varejao’s contract runs through 2018, but his 2017-18 salary is non-guaranteed until August 1. Brooklyn could also potentially acquire Varejao and then waive him with the stretch provision.
LeBron James is a noted fan of Varejao, but the big man is always hurt and suffered an Achilles injury last season. With Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov set to man the frontcourt, along with LeBron playing some at the 4, there’s little room for Varejao anyway. There’s also rumored interest in David West as a veteran off the bench.
Johnson is getting up there in age, but having him as a spot-up shooter and a solid defender on the wing would make the Cavaliers even more potent. If Cleveland was able to get Johnson at the expense of Haywood and Varejao, it would be worth it, even if he walked after the year.