Atlantic Notes: Johnson, Afflalo, Nets

Amir Johnson signed a two-year, $24MM deal with the Celtics because Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was the first person to phone him at midnight on July 1st. Johnson also was lured because he learned how much of a good fit the team believes he will be in the offense, Chris Forsberg of writes.

“I love the way they approached me during [free agency],” Johnson said. “Nine o’clock, Pacific Time, Boston was the first one to call. Danny Ainge called me first then coach [Brad] Stevens. They approached me well. They respect the type of player I am. And they gave me a number and it was a no-brainer from there.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Johnson also told Forsberg how much he liked the idea of the Celtics adding David Lee, who the team is set to acquire“Very versatile big, kind of like me, runs the floor, great pick-and-roll guy,” said Johnson. “I definitely think he’ll fit into the system, just like me. I think it’ll be a more fast-paced team.”
  • Arron Afflalo made it clear to the Nuggets at the trade deadline that he preferred to play with the Knicks and is very happy to be with New York now, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Despite his preference, Afflalo was dealt to the Blazers. He opted out from the Blazers in June and later signed a two-year, $16MM deal with the Knicks. “We told Denver the Knicks were where he wanted to be,’’ said Afflalo’s agent Sam Goldfeder. “Portland was never mentioned.’’
  • Deron Williams leaves the Nets as perhaps the single-most forgettable would-be superstar in the history of New York sports, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post opines. Brooklyn waived the former All-Star Saturday after years of declining performance. Williams differs from other failed stars, Vaccaro writes, because it seemed like the Dallas-native never truly wanted to play for the Nets, even when the team signed him to a $99MM max extension in July 2012.
  • Nets guard Jarrett Jack told reporters, including Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News, that he is ready to step in and start at point guard in place of Williams. “If that’s the position they want me to fill, I’m definitely very ready to do so,” Jack said. “It’s not my first rodeo as far as being thrust into the [starter’s] role if that were to be the case. So it’s something that’s not foreign to me and [I’m] definitely ready for the challenge.”

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