James Johnson

Nets Waive James Johnson, Promote Kessler Edwards

APRIL 10: Edwards’ new contract is now official, the Nets announced (via Twitter). It includes a team option for next season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.


APRIL 7: The Nets have waived forward James Johnson, our JD Shaw tweets, and plan to promote rookie Kessler Edwards to a standard deal so he’s eligible for the postseason, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Johnson, 35, is a 13-year NBA veteran who’s appeared in a total of 747 regular season games. In 62 games (10 starts) with the Nets this season, he averaged 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists on .469/.271/.527 shooting in 19.2 minutes per night.

Edwards, 21, was the 44th overall pick of the 2021 draft after three seasons with Pepperdine. He’s been on a two-way contract this season, and clearly the Nets like what they’ve seen from the young forward, because they want him to keep contributing for a potential playoff run.

Through 46 games (22 starts) this season, Edwards is averaging 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds on .412/.359/.824 shooting in 20.1 minutes. He took advantage of his opportunity over the winter months when the team was ravaged by players in the health and safety protocols, as he’d rarely seen action to that point.

Edwards is known as a strong, versatile defender and is a better spot-up shooter than Johnson, as evidenced by their respective three-point percentages. Because Johnson was waived so late in the season, he will not be eligible to play in the postseason with another team.

COVID-19 Updates: Hawks, Blazers, Celtics, Bucks, Nets

Wesley Iwundu, who just signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks on Thursday, has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Iwundu played 23 minutes in the Hawks’ 98-96 victory over the Sixers Thursday night, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds. ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets that the Hawks will need to sign another replacement player to replace Iwundu — himself a replacement player.

Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu, who made his season debut last week, has entered the protocols as well, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. In three games this season (22.3 MPG), Okongwu is averaging 10.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 BPG. The Hawks now have nine players in the protocols.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and two-way rookie Trendon Watford have entered the protocols for the Trail Blazers and the rest of the team will now be re-tested, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). DSJ and Watford are the only players currently in the protocols for the Blazers.
  • The Celtics have four new players entering the protocols: C.J. Miles, Justin Jackson, Aaron Nesmith, and Bruno Fernando, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. However, Al Horford, Juan Hernangomez, Jabari Parker, and Brodric Thomas, who’ve all been in the protocols, are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, so they could be exiting the protocols soon. Until those four are cleared, the Celtics will have 12 players in the COVID-19 protocols — the largest outbreak in the NBA.
  • In addition to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis has exited the protocols for the Bucks, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets. Like Horford and the other Celtics, Donte DiVincenzo, who’s also been in the protocols, is listed as questionable to make his season debut Saturday.
  • Meanwhile, Bruce Brown and James Johnson have exited the protocols for the Nets, but seven others, including star Kevin Durant, remain in the protocols for their game Saturday against the Lakers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
  • Warriors rookie Moses Moody has entered the protocols, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Golden State now has four players in the protocols.

Four Nets Players Enter Health And Safety Protocols

Four Nets players have joined forward Paul Millsap in the health and safety protocols, the team announced this morning. As Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays (via Twitter), LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, and James Johnson have all entered the protocols and have been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. Toronto.

We don’t have information yet on whether any or all of the five Nets players in the protocols have tested positive for COVID-19. If they’ve registered a false positive or have been deemed close contacts of someone who tested positive, it’s possible they could be cleared later this week.

However, if they’ve all tested positive for the coronavirus, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. In that scenario, the Nets would be eligible to add multiple extra players via the hardship provision.

The Nets, who are also without Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris, will now find themselves a little shorthanded when they host the Raptors on Tuesday. They should have as many as 10 players available, but there are a few little-used rookies in that group, including David Duke, Kessler Edwards, and Day’Ron Sharpe.

Kevin Durant and James Harden will, of course, be leaned on heavily to carry the scoring load, assuming Durant plays — he’s listed as questionable due to right ankle soreness (Twitter link via Marc Stein).

The Nets aren’t the only New York team currently being affected by the health and safety protocols. The Knicks announced this morning (via Twitter) that rookie guard Quentin Grimes is out for Tuesday’s game vs. Golden State due to the protocols.

Grimes is the third Knick to enter the protocols within the last four days, joining RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin. It’s unfortunate timing for 2021’s No. 25 overall pick, who had his best game as a pro in his first career start on Sunday when he scored 27 points with seven 3-pointers vs. Milwaukee.

Eastern Notes: Beal, Sheppard, Johnson, L. Rose, Washington

Wizards star Bradley Beal was “ecstatic” to learn that general manager Tommy Sheppard received a promotion and contract extension with the franchise, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes.

Sheppard, who was elevated to team president, has overhauled Washington’s roster to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have opened the season with an impressive 11-5 record, which is vital toward keeping Beal happy and persuading him to reject any rival trade interest.

“I see Shep in here every single day,” Beal said. “He’s very in tune, he cares. He’s an awesome person and he loves the game. He just wants his team to do well, he wants his team to get better and he holds us to a certain standard. I respect it and I love it. I’m definitely happy for him.

“He’s just constantly working, he’s constantly checking on me, checking on everybody. He’s a great GM, I’m happy for him and his promotion and his next few years here.”

Here are some other notes from the East tonight:

  • Nets forward James Johnson has provided some defensive grit for the team, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Johnson, who signed with Brooklyn in the offseason, has seen increased playing time with Nicolas Claxton (illness) and Paul Millsap (personal) missing multiple games. “The biggest part about this team is just trying to find the identity and sticking to that,” Johnson said. “We have to have some kind of identity that when we’re going into a gym it’s not the Brooklyn Nets that’s on paper, it’s that hard-fighting, physical, tough win-it-out gang.”
  • Knicks president Leon Rose will deserve significant blame if the team can’t turn around a slow start to the season, Ian O’Connor of the New York Post writes. The Knicks hold a 9-7 record, but the club is just 4-5 at home. The vast majority of the roster is back from last season’s playoff group.
  • Hornets forward P.J. Washington (left elbow hyperextension) has been upgraded to doubtful for Monday’s game against the Wizards, the team announced on social media. Washington has missed nine straight games due to the injury. He returned to practice last Tuesday.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Knicks, Madar, Nets, Wizards

While it’s not out of the question that the Pacers will make a major trade this offseason, the team isn’t any rush to move Myles Turner or Malcolm Brogdon, the two names that pop up most frequently in Pacers-related trade rumors, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

Of those two players, Turner is less likely to be dealt, according to Michael, who suggests that new head coach Rick Carlisle would like to try to figure out the best way to maximize the Turner/Domantas Sabonis duo. It’s possible Carlisle will split up the two Pacers bigs and have Turner come off the bench to start the season, Michael adds.

As for Brogdon, the Pacers have been trying to determine whether he’s the right long-term fit as the team’s point guard and leader, according to Michael. As Michael details, Indiana had some locker room issues in 2020/21 and president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard suggested at the end of the season that the club lacked vocal leadership. The Pacers may expect more in that regard from Brogdon going forward.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • The Knicks, who remain on the lookout for another point guard, have some interest in Dennis Schröder, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman also says New York contacted Elfrid Payton at the start of free agency, though it’s unclear if the club views him as a viable fallback option.
  • Yam Madar, the 47th overall pick in the 2020 draft, hopes to play for the Celtics this season, he told reporters on Tuesday. As Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets, Boston’s plan is to see how Madar’s Summer League stint goes and to evaluate its options from there.
  • Nets star Kevin Durant is thrilled that Blake Griffin is set to return to the team for another season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “To have Blake back, I’m so excited,” Durant said from Tokyo. “I mean, as soon as the season was over, I was telling him that we want him back and telling him that, you know, we should try to do it again. And I was glad to see it get done.” In a separate story, Lewis confirms that James Johnson‘s new deal with Brooklyn is worth the veteran’s minimum.
  • After recently announcing a new deal for NHL star Alex Ovechkin, the centerpiece of his other franchise, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis discussed the contrast between how things played out with Ovechkin and Russell Westbrook, per Emily Kaplan of ESPN. “We had a superstar player with the Wizards, he had an opportunity and wanted to be traded to the Lakers,” Leonsis said. “And I was dealing with that as we were announcing Alex. I couldn’t help but self-reflect on what a difference it is. Here’s a great player in Russell Westbrook, played in OKC, wanted to be traded, went to Houston, wanted to be traded, came to D.C., wanted to be traded and is now in L.A. He’s an unbelievably great person and an unbelievably great player. But that’s the difference between the NBA and the NHL, I suppose.”

James Johnson Signs With Nets

AUGUST 6: The Nets and Johnson have made it official, per a team press release.


AUGUST 3: Free agent forward James Johnson will join the Nets on a one-year deal, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Johnson, 34, divided last season between the Mavericks and Pelicans, averaging a combined 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 51 games.

Johnson is known for his toughness, size, and length, which allows him to guard multiple positions and comfortably switch on defense. He will provide another veteran big man off the bench for Brooklyn, which is losing Jeff Green to the Nuggets.

With the Nets already in luxury tax territory, Johnson’s deal is likely for the veteran’s minimum.

Fischer’s Latest: Mavs, Fournier, Rockets, Drummond, Gasol

The Mavericks ended up making just one relatively modest move at the trade deadline, acquiring J.J. Redick and Nicolo Melli in a trade with New Orleans. However, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, that deal may have been a fail-safe option for Dallas as the team explored other options leading up to last Thursday afternoon.

As Fischer explains, the Mavericks also explored a trade that would have sent James Johnson and two second-round pick to Orlando in a package for Evan Fournier. The Magic ultimately chose a similar offer from Boston that allowed them to create a $17MM+ trade exception instead of taking back a matching salary like Johnson’s.

The Mavericks also spoke to the Rockets about Victor Oladipo, sources tell Fischer, but those talks didn’t gain momentum.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • During the James Harden trade talks earlier in the year, the Rockets never projected much interest in hanging onto Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert as part of that deal, Fischer says. Houston didn’t view Allen as a long-term frontcourt fit alongside Christian Wood and wanted to roll the dice on Oladipo recapturing his All-NBA form, a gamble that didn’t work out.
  • Fischer lists the Raptors, Bulls, Mavericks, Clippers, Celtics, Heat, Hornets, Nets, Knicks, and Lakers as teams that showed some level of interest in Cavaliers center Andre Drummond before he was bought out, but none of those clubs could ultimately put together a package that matched the big man’s $28.75MM salary and also appealed to Cleveland. After he was bought out, Drummond was intrigued by the Celtics and spoke to Boston point guard (and fellow UConn alum) Kemba Walker, but ultimately decided to sign with the Lakers.
  • With Drummond now in Los Angeles, some executives are wondering whether the Lakers will consider buying out Marc Gasol, per Fischer. “When they get fully healthy, it’s gonna be a logjam,” one assistant GM said, referring to a frontcourt that also features big men Anthony Davis and Montrezl Harrell, along with power forwards LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. It’s worth noting Gasol has a second guaranteed year on his contract, though it’s only worth the minimum.

Pelicans Trade Redick, Melli To Mavs; Lonzo Ball Stays Put

MARCH 26: The trade is now official, according to announcement from thes Mavericks (Twitter link) and Pelicans.


MARCH 25: The Pelicans won’t be trading point guard Lonzo Ball at today’s deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). However, New Orleans has agreed to a deal that will send J.J. Redick to the Mavericks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Pelicans will receive James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu, and a 2021 second-round pick in exchange for Redick and Nicolo Melli, a source tells Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter links). New Orleans also received cash from the Mavericks in the deal, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Charania initially reported that the Redick deal would be a three-team trade that also sent Trey Lyles from the Spurs to Dallas, but has since clarified that it will just be a direct trade between the Pelicans and Mavs.

Redick, who was averaging 8.7 PPG in 31 appearances off the bench, had expressed a desire to be dealt to a team in the Northeast, where his family resides. He’ll have to wait until the offseason to make that happen but he’ll provide the Mavericks with another 3-point threat off the bench. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

Melli reportedly wanted out after seeing his playing time decline in his second NBA season. He’s only appeared in 22 games this season. He can be a restricted free agent if Dallas decides to extend a $4.87MM qualifying offer. The Mavs will keep Melli at least through the end of this season, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

Johnson has an expiring $16MM contract. He’s averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 29 games this season and gives the Pelicans another frontcourt option. Iwundu has seen action in 23 games this season but has only averaged 2.1 PPG in 12.5 MPG during those outings. He has another year left on his contract but his 2021/22 salary is just $1.82MM.

As for Ball, the Bulls, Knicks, Clippers, Nuggets and Sixers had all been linked to the former No. 2 pick to varying degrees in recent weeks, but New Orleans didn’t find a package attractive enough to deal its current floor leader.

The Pelicans will have to decide after the season whether to extend Ball a $14.36MM qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent, or let him enter the market unrestricted. Assuming they extend that QO, as is expected, they’ll then have to weigh how aggressive they’re willing to be when it comes to a long-term contract offer.

Ball is averaging 14.2 PPG and 5.6 APG for the Pelicans, who are a disappointing five games below .500.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Johnson, Redick, Blazers, Jensen

Mavericks forward James Johnson missed five games for Dallas due to both traveling for a family emergency and then needing to enter COVID-19 protocols, but the veteran enforcer rejoined the Mavericks for a team practice today, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Johnson can return to the hardwood tomorrow for the club’s game against the Timberwolves, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com (Twitter link) adds.

“We don’t get that much chemistry going on throughout this [COVID-19] thing, and how we have to be separated a lot,” Johnson noted of this unique 2020/21 season. “The times that we can get it are at practice and on the road, and I miss that.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Veteran Pelicans wing J.J. Redick is most likely to be bought out of his expiring $13MM contract after the trade deadline passes, and ink a deal with a team on the East Coast to be near his family, sources tell Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons and forward Nassir Little have entered the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols and are missing at least this evening’s contest against the Nets, Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com tweets.
  • Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen has been given the go-ahead by the team to interview for the head coaching gig with his alma matter, the University of Utah, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Brandon Judd of the Deseret News notes that Jensen, a former Utes player, has been on the Jazz’s bench since 2013.

Trade Rumors: Gordon, Bagley, Collins, Turner, Nuggets, Mavs

Magic forward Aaron Gordon continues to be one of the most intriguing trade candidates leading up to Thursday’s deadline, with a Monday report indicating that the Celtics are believed to be the frontrunners for him. Boston reportedly offered two first-round picks and may be eyeing a bigger deal that also features Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier, as Sam Amick of The Athletic confirms.

According to Amick, the Nuggets are currently viewed as the second-strongest suitor for Gordon. Denver has done a good deal of research on the veteran forward in an attempt to determine how well he’d fit the team’s system and culture, sources tell The Athletic.

The Rockets were considered a serious threat to land Gordon at one point, but they no longer to be among the favorites. As Amick explains, the 25-year-old’s disinterest in signing a longer-term extension with Houston may dissuade the club from giving up valuable assets for him. Gordon’s current contract is set to expire after the 2021/22 season.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Kings, who reportedly offered Marvin Bagley III to Detroit in a proposal for Saddiq Bey, have also made Bagley available in discussions with the Hawks about John Collins, says Amick. The Celtics, meanwhile, have “cooled” on Collins due to concerns about how much he’ll cost to retain in restricted free agency, Amick adds.
  • The Pacers would have to be blown away by a “no-brainer” deal in order to trade Myles Turner this week, multiple sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. The Hornets, Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Pelicans are among the teams with interest in the big man, according to Michael, who says one three-team deal discussed last season would’ve sent Turner to New Orleans and Collins to Indiana.
  • The Nuggets and Mavericks remain on the lookout for wing help, with both clubs offering second-round picks and a veteran for salary-matching purposes (Gary Harris and James Johnson), per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.