Whatever LeBron wants, LeBron gets ... or does he? But suffice it to say, he wants Joe Johnson.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, a veteran LeBron James watcher, hints that the discussion of Joe Johnson for the non-guaranteed contract of Brendan Haywood and the injured Anderson Varejao starts with the game's best player, who is also a free agent at the moment.
"For what it's worth, I've heard that LeBron James likes Johnson's game," writes Pluto in a lengthy discussion of the basketball and business sides of the proposed trade (which would also likely include the draft rights to Sasha Kaun, the seven-foot Russian center looking for a shot at the NBA.)
Pluto ticks off a lot of what James would like in Johnson. .
Johnson is durable, having missed only five games in the last two seasons. He's a good teammate, a quiet guy. His game should blend into what the Cavs need at shooting guard -- a guy who can shoot, but doesn't dominate the ball. He is also a decent defender. He can play some small forward.
Moreover, he notes that while the Johnson salary is huge at nearly $25 million, the Cavs would be able to get rid of Varejao's $10 million guarantee in 2016-17 and wouldn't have to play J.R. Smith or his replacement the $6 million or so that they've likely budgeted for a shooting guard this year. As for LeBron's love of Varejao...
Yes, James likes Varejao. But James also likes to win. And he knows that time is short. Varejao is coming off Achilles tendon surgery. In the last four seasons, Varejao has missed 56-17-57-41 games due to various injuries. What are the odds of him even playing 50 of the 82 games next season?
Bottom line for Pluto? Do it. "The Cavs are on the clock because Haywood must be traded in July. I'm saying Johnson makes some sense, despite the mega-dollars. As for what owner Dan Gilbert will pay in the luxury tax, I can't even guess." We can ... a lot more than Mikhail Prokhorov if this deal goes through.
But there was a complicating factor on Monday night. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted teh Cavs have agreed to sign Mo Williams at one-tenth the price. Chris Mannix later contended there hadn't been much movement on the Johnson trade.
Nothing cooking on the Joe Johnson front, per source. Been days since JJ/Cleveland deal was even discussed. Longer JJ/Memphis.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) July 7, 2015
- Cleveland Cavaliers Scribbles about Joe Johnson, Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson - Terry Pluto - Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Joe Johnson trade talks stall - Andy Vasquez - The Record