Amir Johnson

Sixers Take Disciplinary Action Over Cell Phone Incident

6:35pm: The Sixers have fined Johnson for using his cell phone on the sidelines, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. “I apologize for having my phone on the bench in today’s game,” Johnson said in a statement tweeted by the team. “I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions. I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused.”

5:10pm: Today’s playoff loss to the Nets was punctuated by an embarrassing incident late in the game in which Sixers players Amir Johnson and Joel Embiid were caught looking at Johnson’s cell phone while on the bench. Coach Brett Brown criticized both players for their actions and promised the situation would be handled, tweets Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“It’s completely unacceptable and we will deal with it internally, very soon,” Brown said in his post-game press conference. “It’s not something we are and certainly don’t condone.”

Using a cell phone from the bench violates the NBA’s Operations Manual, points out ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Both players are facing substantial fines and possible suspensions. Johnson was inactive today, while Embiid, who has been bothered by knee pain, decided to play shortly before the game began.

Embiid explained that they were using the phone to get an update on the health of Johnson’s daughter (Twitter link). “I looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on his daughter,” he told reporters.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/9/19

Here are today’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Jazz assigned Dante Exum, who has been sidelined since January 5 with an ankle injury, to their Salt Lake affiliate, along with Grayson Allen and Georges Niang, the team announced on Twitter. All three players were recalled after today’s practice.
  • The Jazz also recalled Tony Bradley, according to a tweet from the team.
  • The Bucks assigned Christian Wood to the Wisconsin Herd for tonight’s game with Canton (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets recalled Isaiah Hartenstein from Rio Grande Valley to add some center depth heading into a back-to-back, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
  • The Sixers assigned Amir Johnson and Justin Patton to play for Delaware in tonight’s game, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Both will be recalled after the game.

G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/22/19

Here are Friday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • In a rare move by an NBA veteran, Sixers big man Amir Johnson was granted a request to play for the Delaware Blue Coats on Friday in order to get some playing time, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia will recall Johnson in time for its game against Portland on Saturday. Johnson was in the rotation earlier in the season but hasn’t seen the court since January 26.
  • The Magic assigned rookie guard Melvin Frazier Jr. to Lakeland, the team’s PR department tweets. The second-round pick appeared in Orlando’s last four games before the All-Star break but didn’t go longer than five minutes.
  • The Spurs assigned first-round pick Lonnie Walker IV to the Austin Spurs, according to a team press release. Walker IV has seen action in 20 games with Austin, averaging 16.2 PPG in 27.3 MPG. He’s played in six games with San Antonio.
  • The Hornets assigned forward Dwayne Bacon and rookie guard Devonte’ Graham to the Greensboro Swarm, according to a team press release. Bacon has played in 25 NBA games this season and 12 more with the Swarm. He’s averaging 20.4 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 32.4 MPG at the G League level. Graham has seen action in 31 games with the Hornets and eight with the Swarm. He’s averaging 21.3 PPG and 5.0 APG in 33.1 MPG for Greensboro.
  • The Pacers assigned rookie forward Alize Johnson to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to a team press release. The second-round pick has played 11 NBA games this season. He’s averaging 19.2 PPG and 13.6 RPG in 36.9 MPG over 25 games with Fort Wayne.
  • The Heat recalled forward Emanuel Terry from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, according to a team press release. Miami signed Terry, who has averaged 15.3 PPG and 8.9 RPG in 10 games with the Skyforce, to a 10-day contract on Wednesday.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Atlantic Division:

Marcus Morris, Celtics, 29, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $20MM deal in 2015
Morris will get a nice bump in pay from the team-friendly contract he signed with Phoenix a few years ago. In the last couple of weeks, he’s been in a shooting slump. He’s 7-for-29 from long range over the last six games and has scored 11 or fewer points in five of them. The Celtics don’t rely on Morris for scoring, as evidenced by their five-game winning streak. He’ll eventually perk up offensively and his defensive versatility and rebounding will keep him in the rotation.

D’Angelo Russell, Nets, 22, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23MM deal in 2015
Has any free agent increased his value as much as Russell in recent weeks? If so, it’s an awfully close call. Russell has blown up this month, averaging 24.1 PPG and 7.7 APG for the surging Nets. In the past two weeks alone, Russell hung up 34 points and seven assists against Boston and 40 points and seven assists against Orlando. He added a 25-point, 10-assist performance against the Magic on Wednesday. Russell will be a restricted free agent and the Nets now have to consider using a chunk of their cap space to re-sign him. It will intriguing to see if any team calls the Nets’ bluff with an offer sheet.

Enes Kanter, Knicks, 26, C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2015
Kanter is still in his prime but he’s been swept into the undertow of New York’s youth movement. Kanter didn’t leave the bench on Wednesday and is now pining for a trade. With the hope of landing a big fish in the free agent pond, the Knicks had no intention of re-signing Kanter. But his diminished role isn’t exactly enhancing his value during his walk year. Kanter puts up solid numbers in the points and rebounds columns but his defensive shortcomings and lack of shotblocking prowess will depress his market.

Kawhi Leonard, Raptors, 27, SF (Up) — Signed to a five-year, $94.3MM deal in 2015
The Raptors essentially gave Leonard a week’s vacation by sitting him out for four consecutive games. They’re treating him with kid gloves with the hope he’ll take off the gloves in the summer and sign the dotted line with them. When he has played, he’s been dynamite. He’s averaging career highs in points (27.6 PPG) and rebounds (7.9), alleviating concerns that the quad injury that limited him to nine games last season would be a long-term issue. The Raptors have played quite well without Leonard but there’s no doubt that their hopes of reaching the NBA Finals rest on Leonard’s shoulders.

Amir Johnson, Sixers, 31 (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $2.39MM deal in 2018
Johnson has carved out a nice career after getting drafted in the second round by Detroit in 2005. His playing time has gradually diminished over the last six seasons and he’s down to 9.3 MPG for Philadelphia this season. Johnson has never been a prolific rebounder but he can help at the defensive end. Lately, he’s dealt with some migraines. If Johnson wants to continue his career going forward, he’ll be looking at a veteran’s minimum contract once again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Re-Sign Amir Johnson

JULY 16, 7:30pm: The signing is official, per team press release.

JULY 4, 2:50pm: Johnson’s new one-year deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link).

2:29pm: The Sixers are finalizing a contract agreement with free agent big man Amir Johnson that will keep him in Philadelphia, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Johnson is expected to sign a one-year deal.

Johnson, 31, initially joined the 76ers in the summer of 2017 when he inked a one-year, $11MM deal with the club. Like J.J. Redick, whose salary will go from $23MM last year to about $12-13MM in 2018/19, Johnson figures to return at a lesser rate.

The Sixers have committed just about all their projected cap room to Redick and trade acquisition Wilson Chandler, but could offer Johnson the $4.45MM room exception or a minimum-salary contract if they don’t intend to clear additional space with another roster move.

In 74 games for Philadelphia in 2017/18, Johnson provided veteran stability in the frontcourt, primarily serving as Joel Embiid‘s backup at the five. He averaged 4.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 15.8 minutes per contest.

The 76ers entered the offseason with 11 players under contract, and have since drafted and signed Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet, agreed to re-sign Redick, struck a deal to acquire Chandler, and now agreed to terms with Johnson as well.

That brings Philadelphia’s projected roster count to 16, without accounting for the possibility that the team could bring over draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden this offseason. As such, a trade or cut figures to be coming at some point, with Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot among the players whose roster spots look least secure.

Their agreement with Johnson also seems likely to take the Sixers out of the running for veteran center Kyle O’Quinn, who was reportedly drawing “heavy interest” from Philadelphia on the first day of free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Crawford, Ellington, Bjelica, Williams

The Sixers are interested in veteran free agent guard Jamal Crawford, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Crawford could fortify a bench that has lost Ersan Ilyasovaand Marco Belinelli since the start of free agency. Crawford, 38, averaged 10.3 PPG in 20.7 MPG for the Timberwolves last season. The Pelicans, Cavaliers, Warriors and Nuggets are also reportedly in the mix for Crawford, who opted out of his contract with Minnesota and left $4.54MM on the table.

In other news regarding the free agent market:

  • Unrestricted free agent shooting guard Wayne Ellington has drawn significant interest but he’s viewed as a good bet to re-sign with the Heat, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets. Miami has a cap hold of $8.15MM on Ellington, who appeared in 77 games and averaged 11.2 PPG in 26.5 MPG while shooting 39.2% from long range.
  • The Jazz have a strong interest in Nemanja Bjelica, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. The Timberwolves pulled their qualifying offer to the power forward in order to sign Anthony Tolliver, thus making Bjelica an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Knicks are interested in Alan Williams if he clears waivers, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Suns waived the power forward/center on Monday. The Knicks have also reached out to free agent power forwards Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker, Berman adds.
  • Williams hasn’t ruled out a return to the Suns but his agent has already heard from a handful of teams interested in his services, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Williams, who appeared in only five games last season due to a knee injury, had a non-guaranteed salary of $5.5MM for next season and will likely get through waivers.
  • The Lakers have renounced their free-agent exception rights to guard Andre Ingram and power forward Travis Wear, according to the RealGM transactions log. The Lakers had a cap hold of $1.338MM on Ingram and $1.5MM on Wear. Ingram appeared in two games with Los Angeles last season, while Wear saw action in 17 games.
  • The Suns renounced their free-agent exception rights to center Alex Len, according to the RealGM transaction log. The Suns had a $7.96MM cap hold on Len. He appeared in 69 games last season but became expendable when they drafted Deandre Ayton.

Timberwolves Eyeing Nick Young, Other Free Agents

4:06pm: Wolfson adds Jeff Green, Malcolm Delaney, and Treveon Graham to the list of free agents that the Timberwolves have inquired on so far (Twitter link).

12:15pm: The Timberwolves have interest in Nick Young among several other free agents, according to ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link).

Young is coming off a down year in Golden State where he sported just a 10.0 player efficiency rating and scored just 7.3 points per game. It’s hard to envision the shooting guard surpassing the $5.19MM salary he received with the Warriors last season after floundering alongside the best supporting cast he’s ever played with.

Minnesota has the non-tax mid-level ($8.6MM) and the bi-annual ($3.4MM) at its disposal. However, with approximately $115MM already on the books, the team must be careful when handing out deals if it intends to stay below the luxury tax line. If a team uses its bi-annual exception or more than the taxpayer portion of its MLE, it becomes hard-capped for the season.

Dante Cunningham and James Ennis are among other free agents the Wolves are keeping an eye on, Wolfson adds. Lance Stephenson remains a possibility for one of the team’s five open roster spots. Minnesota is among the teams expected to have interest in the mercurial shooting guard once the first wave of free agents sign.

Other candidates for the team’s openings include Trevor Booker, Amir Johnson, Jabari Bird and Anthony Tolliver. Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau reportedly has spoken with Tolliver and team values the power forward’s lockerroom presence.

Knicks Rumors: Hezonja, O’Quinn, Johnson, Tolliver

Free agent forward Mario Hezonja is very much on the Knicks‘ radar, according to reports. After Michael Scotto of The Athletic indicated earlier in the evening (via Twitter) that New York had interest in Hezonja, Ian Begley of ESPN.com tweeted that the interest is mutual. In the early hours of free agency, the Knicks and Hezonja had a meeting, Scotto adds (via Twitter).

Hezonja is just one of a number of free agents linked already to the Knicks, who plan to offer only one-year deals this offseason. Let’s round up a few more notes and rumors…

  • The Knicks were among the teams to reach out to Amir Johnson after free agency opened, tweets Begley. Johnson is also said to be drawing interest from Minnesota and both Los Angeles clubs.
  • Kyle O’Quinn seems much more likely to sign with another team than to reeturn to the Knicks, sources tell Begley (Twitter link). According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), the division-rival Sixers have expressed serious interest in O’Quinn.
  • The Knicks were one of at least five or six clubs to express interest in Anthony Tolliver when free agency opened, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who reports (via Twitter) that GM Scott Perry had a brief phone conversation with the veteran forward.
  • A two-way player last season, Luke Kornet received a qualifying offer from the Knicks. While New York would like to bring him back on another two-way deal, two teams have expressed “preliminary interest” in giving Kornet a standard NBA contract, sources tell Berman. The Knicks would have the right to match any offer sheet the young seven-footer signs.

West FA Rumors: A. Johnson, Looney, Exum

At least three Western Conference teams are said to have already contacted veteran big man Amir Johnson mere hours into free agency. Per Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News the Timberwolves have been in touch, while Sean Deveney of The Sporting News adds that the Clippers and Lakers have too.

This time last season, Johnson inked a one-year, $11MM deal to serve as a reliable, veteran presence in the middle for the Sixers and it stands to reason that any of the teams kicking the tires on him this time around would be interested in a similar addition.

Johnson averaged 4.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for Philly in 2017/18 but served as a defensive force in the paint and a low maintenance spot starter in games that Joel Embiid sat out.

There are more free agency rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors have already made contact with Kevon Looney about bringing him back to the Bay Area, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes, but the forward is said to be fielding interest from other teams as well. Golden State elected not to guarantee the fourth year of his rookie deal when they had the chance to do so last fall.
  • The Jazz are making restricted free agent Dante Exum a priority, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune tweets, and already have a meeting set up to discuss a new deal.
  • Pending restricted free agent Montrezl Harrell has changed representation, Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal tweets. Now the Clippers big man will be represented by Bobby Petriella of Rosenhaus Sports. He was previously represented by Klutch Sports Group.

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Redick, McConnell, Free Agents

Sixers guard Markelle Fultz will skip summer league to keep working on the mechanics of his shot that were disrupted during his rookie year, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team wants Fultz to continue his work with shooting coach Drew Hanlen in Los Angeles.

Fultz was limited to 17 games during his rookie season because of a combination of injuries and shooting problems. He played the first four games before suffering a shoulder injury that stretched into a 68-game absence as he tried to recover the form he had in college. He returned for the final 10 games, then had a limited role in the playoffs.

Hanlen said Fultz is making progress with his shot, and coach Brett Brown believes he will benefit more from the drills than by playing summer league games.

“I think there’s a timeline of that where you are going to start doing some things skill-wise and handle and play,” Brown said. “But I think when you look at what’s most important, what thing needs the most work, it’s that. I don’t really want to pivot out of that if we think it’s going to hurt a very elementary way we are going about reclaiming his shot.”

There’s more from Philadelphia: