Roughly 12 hours ago, I wrote that Chris Johnson getting three minutes against the Sixers probably meant that he was on his way out of Boston. This was a sad moment, the part in a romantic comedy where the main character does something stupid, ruins his awesome relationship and — most likely — will never love again.
But then, the twist: Reports have surfaced this morning that Chris Johnson will be signed for the rest of the year! Everyone goes home happy.
The Boston Celtics plan to sign swingman Chris Johnson for the rest of the season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 6, 2014
Johnson’s performance has been more than passable — it’s been impressive. His true shooting percentage is through the roof, and he’s throwing his body around the court in pursuit of a full-year contract. A naysayer might wonder if Johnson will be able to keep up that kind of energy now that his contract is guaranteed, but most D-League call-ups know what make them valuable to their team. For Johnson, his value lies in his hustle, his 3-point shooting and his athleticism. It’s hard to imagine him tapering off when his contract will only be guaranteed through the end of the season. That’s the hard life of a fringe NBA player: There’s absolutely no long-term job security, and there’s a legion of talented players willing and waiting to take your place.
For the Celtics, though, this signing is a bit of a gamble.Johnson’s contract, of course, won’t push them over the
salary cap luxury tax threshold, but he is now a guaranteed roster spot, which makes trading a little more difficult as we approach the February 20 deadline. His cap hit is minimal, but again: It’s a little extra room the Celtics no longer have.
That said, Johnson’s performance, when compared to our expectations, has been impeccable. And he may get significant minutes immediately — as Brian pointed out on Twitter, this could mean Avery Bradley’s ankle injury last night was a little more serious than we initially thought. While we certainly don’t wish that on Bradley (seriously, can this kid just catch a break?), having Johnson would likely help considerably with any lost production in Bradley’s potential absence.
Brian will have more on Johnson later after practice.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.