NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)The Nets waived Joe Johnson on Thursday, likely freeing the high-priced guard to land with a playoff contender.

The Nets announced the move Thursday afternoon.

“The Nets want to thank Joe for his many contributions to the team and the organization,” new general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “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.”

ESPN reported earlier in the day that the Nets had initiated buyout talks with Johnson. He must still clear waivers, but that seems likely considering any team that claims him would have to pay the remainder of his $24.9 million salary — only Kobe Bryant was making more this season.

Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Oklahoma City and Toronto are interested in adding the seven-time All-Star, a source told ESPN.

Johnson posted on Twitter on Thursday: “Thank you to all of the Brooklyn and New York Fans for your support during my time with the @BrooklynNets. 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.”

Before the move was announced Thursday, Marks was coy when asked on WFAN about the possibility of a Johnson buyout, but he did sound open to parting ways him.

“We’ll be talking to Joe and seeing what he really wants to do and what he wants to accomplish,” Marks told WFAN’s Evan Roberts. “At this point in his career, he’s obviously done so much … for Brooklyn, for the franchise, being a part of it. And I want to sit with Joe and say, ‘Look, is this something you want to be a part of? Do you want to go play on a playoff team? I think he’s deserved the right to have that.”

Johnson, 34, was in the final year of a six-year, $123.7 million contract he signed with the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to the Nets in 2012.

Johnson is averaging 11.8 points per game this season, his lowest output in 13 years.

On Saturday, the Nets waived center Andrea Bargnani.

Heading into Thursday night’s game at Phoenix, the Nets are 15-42, the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

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