Pistons Waive Joe Johnson

4:31pm: The Pistons have officially waived Johnson, per a press release from the team. A source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) that Iso Joe isn’t giving up on his NBA comeback and plans to pursue other opportunities.

2:27pm: The Pistons are waiving veteran forward Joe Johnson, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The move should pave the way for Detroit to finalize its regular season roster, with Christian Wood claiming the final spot on the 15-man squad.

Johnson, who didn’t play in the NBA during the 2018/19 season, turned heads with his performance in Ice Cube‘s 3-on-3 league earlier this year. The 17-year NBA veteran showed he still had something left in the tank during his BIG3 run, ranking atop the league in scoring, winning the MVP award, and leading his team to a championship.

That performance helped earn Johnson a partially guaranteed deal in Detroit. However, the team still had 14 players on guaranteed contracts and Wood – who had a non-guaranteed salary – made a strong case to be part of the regular season roster. The Pistons reportedly explored trade options to open another roster spot, with Langston Galloway and Khyri Thomas among the candidates to be moved, but ultimately decided to release Johnson.

An injury may have also been a factor in the Pistons’ decision, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Johnson was experiencing swelling in his Achilles. According to Haynes, tests came back clean and Johnson was responding well to treatment. Still, for a 38-year-old who hasn’t played in the NBA in over a year, any health issues should be approached with caution.

With Johnson headed to the waiver wire, the Pistons will be on the hook for his $220K partial guarantee, assuming he goes unclaimed. Detroit’s team salary is now just $4K below the luxury tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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12 thoughts on “Pistons Waive Joe Johnson

  1. Gary

    I won’t say I told you so, but let me say a couple things here and it’s out of respect for NBA players and nothing less than that.

    The best all star in the Big 3 can’t make an NBA roster. You go all the way back down the line and the high school stud who led the league in scoring is the last man off the college bench in many cases.

    To make an NBA roster you’ve got to be an incredible basketball player in some way. You either have to do everything really, really well or you have to have something you’re exceptional at. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard in the Parks over the years a 6-2 guy tell me if he was 6-6 he’d be in the NBA. All I can do is laugh at how little he knows about the league. Yeah he outscored me 9-2 and his team won on a Sunday afternoon game at the park with 40 guys watching us talk trash back and forth. But an extra 4 inches doesn’t put you in the league.

    So with Joe Johnson, who was kind of slowing down already in his last couple of seasons in the NBA, an excellent showing in the Big 3 half court game against other non NBA players doesn’t mean you’re going to make the league again at age 38. I commend him for trying and would encourage anybody, any of those guys Amar’e Stoudemire, whoever was thinking about it.. to go for it. It’s just the fan that thinks it’s going to happen without knowing really what it takes.

    This is just a roundabout salute to the NBA players who do make it and that I recognize it’s an astronomical task an incredible feat to make an NBA roster.

    • jump shot

      He was 1 guy (spot) away from you not being able to write that comment. In fact, they looked into a couple options to be able to keep him. There’s several teams he coulda made but there were only certain situations he was willing to try for a spot for. What you said makes sense as a rule, but to every rule there are exceptions. And, I do know a few guys who, with their exact same skills and attributes, could be in the league with a couple more inches of height. That said, I certainly understand your points even tho I don’t (totally) agree with all of them.

      • Gary

        I always appreciate your posts because I know that you are/ were a player by what you write. Versus an armchair guy, a player can understand a little more what it takes because he’s played against someone better than himself at some point.

        Yes Joe is one roster spot away, and perhaps he hooks on with another team. But my point being people think they’re good enough to be in the NBA except for this one thing or that one thing or a coach in the past. It’s easy to watch on TV and say I could do that or I could be out there with those guys.., until you get out there you’ll never know. Heck, just being out there and given a chance is a gift.

    • miggycabby24

      Good points. But Joe has had his time. I thought they would at least kept him until late November or January. He still is a veteran presence that always helps on the bench or in the locker room, maybe not in the box score as he once did. I look at Vince Carter and he’s amazing. 41 yrs old playing like he’s still 25. He drained 8 3’s his last preseason game.

  2. Jason Lancaster

    Why did they even bring him in? It’s not like they didn’t know what they were getting. He’s a veteran that can score off the bench and help keep the young guys in line. He shouldn’t need to prove anything aside from conditioning and health.

    This sounds like a disconnect between the coaches and the front office to me.

    • Gary

      It’s not what you know it’s who you know. I heard something about a GM or assistant GM or something being his former agent or something like that.

      A friend of a friend will get you a foot in the door. There’s a lot of talk about other teams interested but I’m not too keen on those rumors.

      Another factor is that at his age he can’t stay 100% healthy and ready to go. You get flare-ups especially on a former NBA body. Ever seen those retired guys walk? Phil Jackson etc, even guys that played just 10 years can barely walk. I get the feeling Johnson would have spent half the year on the IL, and the other half averaging 7 minutes and 2.2 points.

      • Jason Lancaster

        Maybe so, but they allegedly tried to clear a spot for him. None of it really adds up.

      • Grant

        I mean I think I would definitely be in the league if I was 4 in taller, a little faster, had a more consistent jump shot, had a better work ethic, hit the gym more, and the other guy Im competing with gets hurt or retires. All that and yeah maybe I got a shot

  3. x%sure

    So the story about going from Big3 to NBA does not exist. Neither from China or India, like Silver would like. Tough, crazy offseason for the commish.

  4. phenomenalajs

    I could see the Mets giving him a shot after 5 games when they’re allowed to replace Wilson Chandler on the roster for the remainder of his 25 game suspension. Lance Thomas is more likely to get it, though.

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