Pacers Sign James Johnson To One-Year Deal

DECEMBER 15: The Pacers have officially signed Johnson, the team announced today in a press release.

DECEMBER 14: The Pacers are signing free agent forward James Johnson to a one-year contract, agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), the Pacers had an open roster spot after reaching a buyout agreement last month with Daniel Theis, so no corresponding move will be necessary to add Johnson.

Johnson, 36, has played for 10 different teams and is now in his 15th NBA season. He spent the 2022/23 campaign with Indiana, appearing in 18 games while averaging 2.8 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per contest. Johnson was waived in February as part of the Kevin Durant blockbuster trade (due to a roster crunch), but the Pacers re-signed him a few days later.

The timing of the move is interesting and perhaps not a coincidence. The Pacers and Bucks had a postgame altercation over the game ball on Wednesday night after a chippy contest between the two Central Division teams. Johnson is known for being one of the toughest players in the league, and head coach Rick Carlisle praised his veteran leadership last season.

“Very important for us,” Carlisle said. “… He’s contributed so much to our situation just in terms of setting examples, mentoring, being very positive, being very truthful. He has a really strong reputation in this league as a great competitors, as a very tough guy. Those kinds of things. He’s been a difference maker so it’s great to have him back on board.

Indiana’s roster will be full once the move is official.

View Comments (15)