Heat president Pat Riley said forward James Johnson is very close to reaching his conditioning requirements and joining the team for training camp, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Johnson failed to meet Riley’s standards – which Johnson’s agent Mark Bartelstein described as a weight issue – and has been working out apart from the team.
“He’s already almost there again,” Riley said. “So I think in very short notice I’m going to turn this over to (coach) Erik (Spoelstra).”
Riley says he has no hard feelings toward Johnson but that the banishment “had to be done.”
“I’ve always had that feeling about players, even the ones that may fall short of certain goals and things of that nature,” he said. “It’s just something that had to be done. Now, he realizes it, and I realize it. It’s not going to take away from the team and it’s not going to take away from him once he reaches those conditioning requirements.”
Johnson has a $15.3MM contract this season with a $16MM player option for the 2020/21 season. He’s the projected starter at power forward after starting 33 of 55 games in which he appeared last season.