NBA veterans who are bought out of their contracts after the All Star break are given a second chance during the season. Aside from being paid a lump sum to leave what is usually a non-contending team, the player then gets to choose where he chases an NBA Championship. According to ESPN, after being waived by the New Jersey Nets, Joe Johnson decided to choose Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs battle it out to see who the best team in the Western Conference is, the widespread belief is that the Cleveland Cavaliers should be able to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals again this year. Though not talked about as much as Stephen Curry nowadays, LeBron James is still one of the best basketball players in the world, and he has some talented sidekicks in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
As a sign of how well respected his skills still are, Joe Johnson was recruited by several NBA teams. Aside from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Atlanta Hawks were said to be quite interested in bringing Johnson, their former franchise player before he joined the Brooklyn Nets, back to a roster that is equipped to contend for an NBA title. Johnson would have been a great complement to Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroeder, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Al Horford.
The Miami Heat were considered an NBA Championship contender when the regular season started. Unfortunately for the team, this is now the second year in a row where Chris Bosh has been sidelined by health issues. Heat team president Pat Riley has been purposely silent about what actually ails Bosh. Last season, the All Star forward was forced to leave the team because he was having issues with blood clots.
For now, the Cleveland Cavaliers can only wonder what it would have been like to have someone as talented as Joe Johnson being their fourth best player in the rotation. It’s rare to have that type of depth in the NBA.
[Featured Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]