Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson Will Work Out For Bucks

Joe Johnson will make another attempt at an NBA comeback, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The 39-year-old swingman has a workout scheduled with the Bucks this week, sources tell Scotto.

Johnson has been out of the league since the 2017/18 season, when he played a combined 55 games for the Jazz and Rockets. He was part of the Team USA squad at the AmericaCup qualifying event in February, averaging 11 points, nine rebounds and 6.5 assists in two games.

He’s also known for his time in the BIG3 League, where he captured MVP honors in 2019 and earned a training camp invitation from the Pistons. He survived until the end of camp, but lost a battle for the final roster spot to Christian Wood.

Johnson played 17 NBA seasons and appeared in seven All-Star Games. Scotto suggests the Bucks are intrigued by his extensive playoff experience, as well as his ability to stretch the floor and score in isolation.

Milwaukee has an open roster spot, so Johnson could be added without making another move.

And-Ones: J. Johnson, Ignite, Clippers’ Arena, S. Smith

Isaiah Thomas won’t be the only NBA veteran suiting up for Team USA at the AmeriCup qualifiers in San Juan, Puerto Rico next month. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson, who has been out of the league since 2018, will also represent the U.S. in games against The Bahamas and Mexico.

As G League expert Adam Johnson points out (via Twitter), with the NBAGL bubble taking place next month, there will be fewer G League veterans available to represent Team USA than there were at the earlier qualifiers. However, there are a number of former NBA players who weren’t selected in this month’s NBAGL draft who could look to join Thomas and Johnson on the U.S. roster to showcase themselves to NBA teams.

USA Basketball has already qualified for the 2022 AmeriCup tournament by going 4-0 in previous qualifying games, so the team won’t face any pressure in San Juan to win both its games.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Brian Shaw, the head coach of the G League Ignite, spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about the outlook for prospects like Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, why other youngsters should consider the G League out of high school, and whether he has any desire to return to coaching in the NBA.
  • Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated also checks in on the Ignite, passing along first impressions of Jalen Green and exploring the roles that the G League veterans on the Ignite’s roster are playing.
  • The City of Inglewood intends to use eminent domain to acquire the land necessary for the Clippers‘ new arena, according to Jason Henry of The Pasadena Star-News, who provides an update on the plans and the timetable for the construction of that building.
  • Veteran basketball analyst Sekou Smith (of NBA TV and NBA.com) passed away on Tuesday due to COVID-19, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. The league and the players’ union both released statements mourning Smith. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Joe Johnson Talks About Playing Overseas

At age 39, Joe Johnson isn’t thinking about the end of his basketball career. The seven-time All-Star and reigning Big3 MVP played for Overseas Elite in The Basketball Tournament this summer and told Bob Holt of The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette that playing overseas might be his next step.

“I still have that itch to hoop,” Johnson said. “I still love the game. I just can’t give it up right now.”

Johnson said some NBA teams also expressed interest in signing him next season. He scored more than 20,000 points in 17 NBA seasons, but hasn’t played in the league since 2017/18 when he spent the year as a reserve with the Jazz and Rockets. He was with the Pistons in training camp last fall, but lost a battle for the final roster spot to Christian Wood.

Johnson got plenty of accolades from former NBA players for his TBT performance. Dwyane Wade tweeted that “not many guys could guard him on the second unit,” and Darrell Walker said there’s still a place for Johnson in the NBA.

“He doesn’t need to play 35 minutes a night anymore, but he definitely can play 16 or 17 minutes and help your team,” Walker said. “Joe would be a great locker-room guy, too. He’s a good dude. As the old-school guys say, ‘Joe is a pro’s pro.'”

Johnson revived his career in 2019 with a dominant performance in the BIG3. He said the decision to participate was “therapeutic” after his mother died of cancer in February of that year. Trail Blazers assistant coach and fellow Arkansas alum Jannero Pargo contacted Johnson and urged him to play.

“Being an only child, that was tough losing her. I just wanted something to keep me busy, and the BIG3 was it,” Johnson recalled. “Playing was probably the best thing for me. That’s how Jannero presented it to me, prior to me committing to being in the BIG3. He said, ‘I think it will be a good stress reliever, and it’ll give us a chance to play on the same team again. We can have some fun and kick everybody’s butt on the weekends.’ “

Johnson was clearly the best player in the BIG3 during his first season, leading the league in scoring, assists, and its unique category of 4-pointers. He had planned to return this year, but the season was wiped out because of COVID-19. Johnson credits his dedication to health and fitness to helping him stay productive as he nears age 40.

“Right now I’m in some of the best shape I’ve ever been in,” he said. “I watch what I eat. I do a lot of hot yoga, which is so detoxifying for your body, so good for your muscles and joints and bones. I know I can’t give that up, and that’s definitely what’s helped keep me going over the years. Especially these later years.”

And-Ones: Gudaitis, Beaubois, Paul, Robinson, Curry, King

Lithuanian center Arturas Gudaitis is expected to leave Olimpia Milano and join Zenit St. Petersburg next season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Gudaitis, who played 19 games last season with Olimpia Milano and averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG, had been signed through next season with the Italian club. The Sixers used a 2015 second-round pick on Gudaitis but he has never appeared in an NBA regular-season game. The Cavaliers acquired his rights in 2018 via a three-way trade with the Kings and Jazz.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois has reached a two-year contract extension with his Turkish club Anadolu Efes, Misko Raznatovic tweets. Beaubois, 32, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012/13 season. Last season, the French guard averaged 11.1 PPG over 43 games.
  • Chris Paul has made a strong impression as NBA Players Association president, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. Players Association executive director Michele Roberts indicates that not all superstar players like the Thunder point guard command the same respect. “I won’t name any names, but there have been other marquee players that have been on the executive committee,” Roberts said. “They haven’t come close, they haven’t come close to providing and demonstrating a level of commitment and time that Chris has. And he’s not only just there, he’s engaged, he understands the issues. … He does insist on hearing all sides, and he brings in the other players.”
  • Joe Johnson, Mario Chalmers, Nate Robinson and Eddy Curry are among the former NBA players slated to participate in 3-on-3 pay-per-view tournament later this month, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. The “5 Tournament” is scheduled to take place July 19-29, just before the NBA’s planned restart.
  • Former Suns two-way player George King has signed with Bundesliga’s Chemnitz 99ers, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. King, who appeared in one game with the Suns in 2018/19, played in Italy and Poland last season.

And-Ones: TBT, Daniels, Whittington, Newman

A number of former NBA players are set to take part in 2020’s edition of The Basketball Tournament, an annual, winner-take-all tournament with a prize of $1MM.

As Carmine Carcieri of ESPN details, veteran guard Joe Johnson is playing in The Basketball Tournament after winning a championship and an MVP award in the BIG3 in 2019. Malachi Richardson, Tony Wroten, Johnny O’Bryant, and Markel Brown are among the others with NBA experience who will suit up for the event, per Carcieri.

More recently, a couple more notable names have joined the list of participants, with veteran guard Jarrett Jack joining Johnson’s Overseas Elite squad (Twitter link), while former lottery pick Hasheem Thabeet will be a member of the Playing For Jimmy V team.

With most professional sports still on hiatus, The Basketball Tournament should be under a larger spotlight in 2020. ESPN announced its broadcast schedule for the event today, starting with four games on July 4 and culminating in a July 14 championship.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • CAA Sports is hiring Evan Daniels of 247Sports to become an agent in its college basketball coaching division, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Daniels has long been one of the most well-connected and reliable sources for college basketball and NBA draft news.
  • Free agent forward Greg Whittington, who had a strong year in Turkey in 2019/20, isn’t eligible to join an NBA team for the summer restart, but continues to receive strong offers from EuroLeague teams, including Panathinaikos BC, agent Jerry Dianis tells JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter links).
  • Former lottery pick Derrick Williams has received interest from international teams, including Khimki, but no deal is imminent, reports JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Williams, who last played in the NBA in 2017/18, spent the ’19/20 season with Fenerbahce.
  • Malik Newman, who spent a little time with the Cavaliers this season, has signed with Turkish team Bursaspor, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. Newman appeared in just one game for Cleveland, spending most of 2019/20 with the Canton Charge in the G League.

And-Ones: Daye, J. Johnson, Coaches

Despite reportedly receiving some interest from NBA teams, forward Austin Daye has decided to remain in Italy and will sign a two-year contract extension with Reyer Venezia, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

A former Gonzaga standout and a first-round pick in 2009, Daye averaged 5.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG with a .402/.351/.778 shooting line in 293 NBA regular season games (14.1 MPG), but has played overseas since 2015, winning an LBA (Italian League) Finals MVP award in 2019 and earning Italian Cup MVP honors in 2020.

A report last month indicated that Daye had talked to an NBA team and was considering exercising the out clause in his contract before a June 30 deadline. However, perhaps in part because of the uncertainty surrounding the NBA’s calendar, Daye has opted to remain with Reyer Venezia, where he’ll continue to play a major role.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA swingman Joe Johnson will play for Overseas Elite in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) this summer, our JD Shaw reports (via Twitter). As we detailed last month, the annual event still intends to move forward in July with frequent COVID-19 testing for participants.
  • As some teams around the NBA prepare to search for a new head coach, or weigh whether or not to do so, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz takes a deep dive into the hottest names on the coaching market, exploring which assistants and former head coaches are good bets to receive consideration for jobs this summer.
  • It won’t happen, but several of The Athletic’s NBA writers consider what it would look like if the 22 teams headed to Orlando this summer were permitted to “draft” players from the league’s bottom eight teams. The results of the experiment, including Stephen Curry to Washington and Trae Young to Phoenix, are pretty entertaining.

BIG3 Aims To Hold Quarantined Tournament In April

The BIG3 is working on plans to launch a “quarantined, reality show-style” three-on-three tournament in April, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz – the league’s founders – have had discussions with TV networks about possibility broadcasting the preseason tournament, which they hope would help fill a void in the sporting world.

As Haynes explains, the idea would be to have approximately 16 to 22 players who test negative for COVID-19 be quarantined together in a large home in Los Angeles. A basketball facility would be built on site, and any player who breaks quarantine at any time during the tournament would be disqualified and removed.

The format would involve seven rounds of games, with teams being reshuffled throughout the tournament and players being eliminated when they accumulate three losses. In addition to the games, the players’ daily lives would also be filmed and broadcast “for added drama and storylines,” per Haynes.

“As long as we can protect the players, which we will do through proper testing and quarantine, Ice Cube and I feel we can give fans some safe, entertaining brand of basketball to get everyone through this pandemic,” Kwatinetz told Haynes.

Even if the BIG3 is able to move forward with its tournament as planned, it’s not yet known which players would participate, but Haynes says that former NBA players like Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, and Greg Oden are among the possible candidates.

Joe Johnson Returning To BIG3

Seven-time All-Star swingman Joe Johnson will be returning to the BIG3 this summer for a second season with Ice Cube‘s 3-on-3 veteran league, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reports (Twitter link).

Johnson, 38, is the reigning BIG3 league MVP. His team, the Triplets, won the BIG3 championship last summer, thanks in large part to Johnson’s sharpshooting heroics.

The 6’7″ wing out of Arkansas last saw some NBA heat this fall, where he was signed to the Pistons’ training camp roster after his stellar BIG3 performance. However, power forward Christian Wood beat him out for the team’s 15th and final roster spot heading into the season. Detroit waived Johnson in October.

In his 17 NBA seasons, Iso Joe played for solid playoff squads on the Celtics, Suns, Hawks, Nets, Heat, Jazz and Rockets. He holds a career slash line of 16.0 PPG/4.0 RPG/3.9 APG. He has converted 44.1% of his shots from the field, 37.1% of his 4.2 three-point attempts a night, and 80.2% from the charity stripe.

Pistons Notes: Rose, Wood, Morris, Jackson

Derrick Rose has gotten off to a strong start with the Pistons but he’ll remain on a minutes limitation, James Edwards III of The Athletic relays. Rose, who signed a two-year, $15MM contract as a free agent this summer, averaged 25.3 PPG and 5.0 APG in his first three games despite playing 26.3 MPG.

“I got to watch his minutes,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I try to keep his minutes around 27, 28. That limits us to what we can do with him. … If it’s tight or close, we may fudge the numbers a little bit, but for the most part, we’re going to keep it around that number each and every night.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Center Christian Wood beat out Joe Johnson for the final roster and made his first meaningful contribution against the Sixers on Saturday night, Rod Beard of the Detroit News notes. Wood, who was claimed off waivers, had 11 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes as Blake Griffin remains sidelined with hamstring and knee injuries. “I was able to show that I want to be in the rotation,” Wood said.
  • Forward Markieff Morris, who is starting while Griffin mends, was fined $35K by the league for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official, according to a league press release. Morris, who joined Detroit on a two-year, $6.56MM contract, made those remarks during the loss to the Sixers.
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson underwent tests on his sore lower back, Keith Langlois of the team’s website tweets. Jackson, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, missed his second consecutive game on Monday. “The doctor’s going to read the results and see what it is,” Casey said.

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.