NBA Nets release former All-Star guard Johnson

New York (AFP) –


Former All-Star guard Joe Johnson was released by the NBA's Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, opening the door for the 34-year-old American to join another club in time for the playoffs.

The Nets and Johnson are in talks on a buyout for the remainder of his $24.9 million season salary, the final year of a mammoth six-year deal worth $124 million.

Because the Nets dropped Johnson before next Tuesday, he would be eligible to take part in the playoffs for his new club. Later deals are good only for the rest of the regular season.

"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," Nets general manager Sean Marks said. "We wish him much success in the future."

Johnson wants to sign with a team in the playoff picture, something the Nets were not at 15-42.

Among the teams reportedly interested in Johnson are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Johnson offers the versatility of being able to play as a small forward or shooting guard depending on a team's needs.

Seven-time All-Star Johnson owns career averages of 17.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists over 15 NBA seasons with Boston, Phoenix, Atlanta and the Nets.

Johnson is averaging 11.8 points this season, his lowest scoring average since the 2002-03 campaign.