MIAMI (AP) — Joe Johnson has agreed to sign with Miami, a move that would give the Heat a shooter that they craved for the stretch run.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations spoke with the Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been signed.
Johnson could sign with the Heat as early as Saturday when he clears waivers. The earliest Johnson — who was bought out by the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week — could play for the Heat is Sunday, when they visit the New York Knicks.
It's a complex move for the Heat, who made a series of deals at the trading deadline to get under the luxury-tax threshold and avoid the highly punitive repeater tax. The team was planning to wait until the second week of March to add a player, then would add another in the final week of the season to fill the roster but still escape the repeater.
Barring another move, those plans are now changed.
The Heat have long had a philosophy that they would pay the tax if they deemed a move worthwhile, and Johnson's shooting ability apparently qualifies as such. He has 85 3-pointers this season, more than any other Heat player. Miami's top 3-point shooter this season is Chris Bosh with 81, and Bosh's status for the remainder of the season is most unclear as he deals with a blood clot that formed in his leg and was diagnosed during the All-Star break.
Miami is down to 10 available players, with three players — Bosh, Tyler Johnson and Beno Udrih — either hurt or ill, and two roster spots left vacant as part of the moves that got the Heat under the tax line.
The 34-year-old Johnson has a relationship with several Heat players, Dwyane Wade included, and has been to the postseason 10 times in his career. He has 1,797 3-pointers in his career, and has shaken off a rough start to his season.
Before Jan. 1, Johnson averaged 10.5 points on 35 percent shooting, 30 percent from 3-point range. Since Jan. 1, Johnson has averaged 13.4 points on 48 percent shooting, 46 percent from 3-point range.