Joe Johnson and trade rumors are old friends at this point, and if things go south for Brooklyn this year, one of those rumors may finally come to fruition.
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck explains that, while he doesn't expect Johnson will be moved, his expiring deal and the Nets' new youth-first philosophy might lead to his eventual departure.
"Joe Johnson, while no longer than leading man at this stage of his career, would be a great role player for some team as a short term investment," Beck said. "He's a free agent next summer. I can see him fitting in with any number of teams that expect to make a deep playoff run, and the Nets are in a pseudo rebuild right now. So for the right offer, I could absolutely see Joe Johnson being moved." (h/t to NetsDaily for the transcription).
Beck's hunch is a good one, but only if the Nets fall out of contention. With that early schedule, that's not out of the realm of possibility. So if Brooklyn is headed for that 30-52 season ESPN projected them for, Johnson will probably be as good as gone at some point this winter. But Johnson is a wild card of sorts. We know he's still capable of playing at a high level, despite a down year last season. If the Nets' beefed up front court can help open up some space for him and he has more shots fall this season, Brooklyn could surpass the low expectations for them around the league. If that happens, Johnson isn't going anywhere.