The Brooklyn Nets have officially waived Joe Johnson, the team announced. The 6-foot-7, 240 pound guard will now be able to join the team of his choosing. At the top of the list, according to Mark Stein of ESPN, are the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 34-year-old said, "Thank you to all of the Brooklyn and New York fans for your support during my time with the Brooklyn Nets. I want to thank the Nets organization and I wish nothing but the best to the team. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my career and am excited to bring my talents to a new team."
In three and a half seasons with the Nets, Johnson has averaged 14.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game across 288 games. The 15-year veteran has played with the Nets, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks during his veteran career.
"The Nets want to thank Joe for his many contributions to the team and the organization," said Marks. "Joe has been a quality professional since joining the Nets four years ago, was a valued member of three playoff teams, and provided many thrilling moments for his teammates and Nets' fans. We wish him much success in the future."
In his first week of the job, Sean Marks has released forward Andrea Bargnani and now Johnson. Since Marks is the new Nets general manager, the released shooting guard will be playoff-eligible for his new team. The right-handed shooter gave back the $3 million remaining on his salary to move away from Brooklyn.
"I know [Mikhail Prokhorov] is very fond of Joe, and it's hard to see him leave, and he would've loved for Joe to have stuck around and been a Net for the rest of this season and beyond," Marks said. "But I think he also realizes the fair thing for Joe would be [for him] to try to get a chance at a championship."
Big Shot Joe will clear waivers on Saturday at 5:00 PM. The Cavaliers are his first choice, while the Hawks, Celtics, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors are in hot pursuit, according to Mark Stein of ESPN.
"It shows Joe's serious about going to a contender. We wish him all the best. He's been part of some great Net memories," Marks said.
Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are the current starters for the Cavaliers. If the team can add Johnson, he would be the backup to James at small forward and the third-string shooting guard behind Smith and Iman Shumpert.
The former University of Arkansas student-athlete was drafted 10th overall by the Celtics in the 2001 NBA Draft. Johnson, a seven-time NBA All-Star, has career averages of 17.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.