TORONTO: Six years later, the Cavaliers have reportedly lost out on another free agent to the Miami Heat. This one, however, doesn’t sting nearly as much.
Joe Johnson will join the Miami Heat after he clears waivers Saturday night, according to multiple reports. The soon-to-be free agent guard was considering the Cavs, but has chosen South Beach instead. Yahoo Sports reported Johnson chose the Heat for the chance to start and play meaningful minutes.
LeBron James, who also spurned Cleveland for Miami in 2010, confirmed earlier Friday the Cavs had interest in Johnson, but stopped short of saying he would reach out to him.
“He knows that we want him,” James said. “If he decides to come here, it’d be great. If not, then we’ll continue to move on with what we have.”
James and Johnson were teammates on the 2006 FIBA World Championship team that finished a disappointing third. James wanted the Cavs to acquire Johnson in a trade last summer, one source with knowledge of the trade talks said, but his $25 million contract was too much to swallow. Johnson and the Brooklyn Nets negotiated a buyout Thursday and Johnson is expected to clear waivers Saturday.
“He’s a great piece for any team,” James said Friday morning. “If we’re lucky enough to get him, he would mean something to us. If not, we have enough here to compete.”
Johnson and Cavs forward Kevin Love share an agent in Jeff Schwartz, but the two players are not overly close.
Johnson’s move to Miami leaves the Cavs still searching the free-agent pool for buyout candidates. Kevin Martin and the Minnesota Timberwolves are negotiating a buyout on his contract, ESPN reported.
Martin, 33, was born in Zanesville. He is a sharpshooter who has struggled a bit this season and is a liability defensively. He is averaging 10.6 points and shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. He is a career 39 percent shooter from deep.
Iman Shumpert returned to the rotation Friday after missing three games with a sprained shoulder. Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott fell on Shumpert’s shoulder as he dove for a steal. Shumpert indicated the shoulder became temporarily dislocated, although he didn’t want to use that term. It was the same shoulder he dislocated last season with the New York Knicks and missed six weeks as a result.
“I don’t like to say it popped out, but it went back in,” Shumpert said. “It wasn’t hanging off.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey raved about the progress Tristan Thompson has made since entering the NBA. Casey has known Thompson since he was in high school, when Casey coached him at an Adidas camp in Dallas one summer.
“That young man has really improved. I’ll tell you what, he has really become an elite offensive rebounder and defender,” Casey said. “He plays the role for that team perfectly. He doesn’t need touches, he doesn’t need the ball. He just gets it done. Whoever guards him doesn’t have to worry about getting the rebound — just getting him off the boards is the most important thing.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ.