Tyler Johnson

Jazz Notes: Far From Contending, Mini-Camp, Prospect Workouts

All four of the 2021/22 Conference Finalists — the Warriors, Mavericks, Celtics and Heat — proved how far the Jazz are from contending for a championship, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News opines.

Todd notes that head coach Quin Snyder, whose status remains uncertain for next season, said Utah was very close to competing at the highest level at his end-of-season press conference.

This year, I thought that our record didn’t necessarily reflect what we could do in the playoffs. I felt like we were this close to having a spark and kicking it in and finding that unity, that extra secret sauce, and taking off. And obviously that didn’t happen,” Snyder said, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Todd disagrees. Even assuming the Jazz had advanced past Dallas in the first round (they lost in six games), Todd is doubtful the Jazz would have been able to take the Suns to seven games in the second round, as Dallas was able to do.

She also doesn’t think the Jazz would have fared any better than the Mavs did against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, if they’d gotten past Phoenix.

Ultimately, the Todd believes the flawed roster was too much to overcome, and Utah’s front office will have a tough job improving it this summer.

Here’s more from Utah:

Spurs Sign Tyler Johnson To 10-Day Deal

4:28pm: The signing, which uses a hardship exception, is official, according to a team press release.


12:38pm: The Spurs intend to sign Tyler Johnson to a 10-day deal, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Johnson’s most recent NBA stint was a 10-day contract with the Sixers, which expired on December 31. In three games with Philadelphia in a limited role, Johnson averaged 3.7 PPG and 2 RPG in 12.7 MPG.

Johnson, 29, has plenty of NBA experience, having appeared in a total of 351 games for the Heat, Suns, Nets, and Sixers since 2014. After going undrafted out of Fresno State in 2014, Johnson caught on with the Heat and developed into a solid two-way player for the club. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.0 RPG on .393/.364/.857 shooting in 39 games (17.5 MPG) for Brooklyn last season, but didn’t catch on with a new team during the offseason after his deal with the Nets expired.

Johnson holds career averages of 9.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 2.3 APG on .427/.360/.779 shooting (24.7 MPG). His 10-day contract with the Spurs will likely be through a hardship exception, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. San Antonio has a full 15-man roster, but is eligible to sign a second hardship player with Doug McDermott and Lonnie Walker still in the league’s health and safety protocols. The team’s other 10-day hardship deal is with Jaylen Morris.

Doc Rivers, Michael Malone Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Two more NBA head coaches have entered the health and safety protocols and won’t be on the sidelines for their respective teams in the short term.

Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Sixers coach Doc Rivers has entered the protocols, while Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link) hears from a source that Nuggets coach Michael Malone has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in the protocols.

In Philadelphia, assistant Dan Burke will take over for Rivers as the 76ers’ acting head coach, according to Wojnarowski. Malone will be replaced in Denver by assistant David Adelman for the time being, says Singer.

The list of head coaches in the protocols continues to grow — Frank Vogel, Billy Donovan, Monty Williams, Chauncey Billups, and Mark Daigneault are also currently affected. Rick Carlisle and Alvin Gentry were in the protocols earlier in the month but have since resumed coaching the Pacers and Kings, respectively.

In addition to placing Rivers in the health and safety protocols today, the Sixers also had two more players enter — Myles Powell and Tyler Johnson are now in the protocols and have been ruled out for Thursday’s game vs. Brooklyn, tweets Wojnarowski.

Sixers Sign Tyler Johnson To 10-Day Contract

DECEMBER 22: The Sixers have officially signed Johnson to a 10-day deal, according to a press release from the team. He should be available for Philadelphia’s next four games before his contract expires on December 31.


DECEMBER 20: The Sixers have reached an agreement to sign free agent guard Tyler Johnson, a source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’ll be a 10-day contract via a hardship exception, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms (via Twitter).

Johnson, 29, has plenty of NBA experience, having appeared in a total of 348 games for the Heat, Suns, and Nets since 2014. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.0 RPG on .393/.364/.857 shooting in 39 games (17.5 MPG) for Brooklyn last season, but didn’t catch on with a new team during the offseason after his deal with the Nets expired.

Johnson will add some depth to a Sixers backcourt that is currently missing Shake Milton (health and safety protocols), Furkan Korkmaz (non-COVID illness), Jaden Springer (concussion), and, of course, Ben Simmons (personal). Tyrese Maxey is also listed as questionable for Monday’s game due to a left quad contusion.

Johnson’s 10-day contract will pay him $128,709, but it won’t count against the Sixers’ team salary for cap or tax purposes.

Nets Notes: Harden, Griffin, T. Johnson

Even though they recovered to beat the Bucks in the first game of their playoff series, the Nets were shocked and disappointed by the hamstring injury that sidelined James Harden in the first minute Saturday night, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Harden felt pain in his hamstring on a drive to the basket and left the game for an MRI. The results of that test will determine his availability for the rest of the series.

“You never want to see that for someone like James, who is such an important player and such an incredible player and cares so much,” coach Steve Nash said. “I’m heartbroken for him. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if he’s playing the next game, if he’s out. I have no idea. But I’m heartbroken for him that he had to miss tonight.”

Harden missed more than 20 games late in the season with a strain of the same hamstring. He was able to return during the final week and played all five games of the first-round series against the Celtics without any issues. The Nets have a quick turnaround for Monday’s Game 2 and they’re awaiting word on when Harden will be able to play again.

“I know how much he cares. I know how much he wants to be in this moment,” Kevin Durant said. “… Wishing him a speedy recovery. Keep him involved as much as possible. It’s just a bad break.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets won’t risk a long-term injury to Harden by trying to play him before he’s fully recovered, sources tell Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link). Schultz adds that it’s a sensitive issue right now after the Lakers permitted Anthony Davis to play in their final game despite a groin injury.
  • Blake Griffin helped the Nets survive the loss of Harden by posting 18 points and 14 rebounds for his best rebounding performance and second double-double since joining the Nets, notes Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post. He’s happy to be part of the playoffs after being benched in Detroit before a buyout in March. “For two years, I didn’t hear much positivity,” Griffin said. “Probably rightfully so. But it’s pretty crazy how quickly it happens, so I’m just thankful for this opportunity.”
  • Jonathan Lehman of The New York Post looks at the path Tyler Johnson traveled to get to Brooklyn after getting a massive offer from the organization as a restricted free agent in 2016. The Heat matched that offer, but Johnson eventually became a salary dump in Phoenix before joining the Nets last summer in advance of the restart.

Nets Notes: Free Agency, James, Fans, Tsai

Nets GM Sean Marks said the team’s success or failure in the playoffs will impact how he handles free agent decisions, Joe Makar of Nets Republic tweets.

“We need to be focused on the task at hand,” Marks said. “If the team lives up to expectations, we might have some easy decisions. If not, we might have to refocus elsewhere.”

Bruce Brown can be a restricted free agent this offseason, while Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are among the group of players who will be unrestricted free agents.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Mike James can also become a restricted free agent, though he’d have to work out an agreement with CSKA Moscow to remain in the NBA. Brooklyn would like to hold onto the point guard, who averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.2 APG in 13 games after he was added on two 10-day contracts, then a rest-of-the-season deal, NetsDaily.com relays. “I will tell you that I really like Mike and I would like to have him with us in the years to come,” director of player personnel J.R. Holden said to Greece’s Gazzetta.
  • More fans will be allowed into Barclays Center for the postseason and there will be vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Fans will have to pay more for tickets in the unvaccinated sections, according to team CEO John Abbamondi. “We are not neutral, we want people to get vaccinated,” he said.
  • Owner Joe Tsai was pleasantly surprised how the team transformed from an also-ran to an up-and-coming team to the Eastern Conference favorites in a short period of time, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “In hindsight this ‘process’ was brilliant, but I certainly didn’t see it coming at the time,” he said.

Atlantic Notes: Rose, Thibodeau, Johnson, Injuries, Fournier

Tom Thibodeau joined the Knicks this past offseason with a strong reputation despite unceremonious exits during his last two stops with the Bulls and Timberwolves, and has helped New York exceed expectations, putting the club on the cusp of a postseason appearance.

One player who has been with Thibodeau for a while is Derrick Rose, who enjoyed his best years with Thibs in Chicago, joined him briefly in Minnesota, and is now a key depth piece for the Knicks. In Rose’s view, Thibodeau, a top contender for Coach of the Year, has only improved, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes.

“It shows that he’s improved as a coach. He’s already a great coach, but every year he’s improving and adjusting,” Rose said. “That’s the big difference that I see with him this year. He’s giving guys more freedom to go out there and play the way they want. He’s being positive on the court.”

The Knicks own a record of 33-27 record entering play Saturday, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes:

  • Year after year, the Knicks seemingly found new ways to become a laughingstock of the NBA through poor hires, questionable signings and head-scratching trades. This season, however, the club has played well behind some shrewd acquisitions and the hiring of a good coach, and is trending in the right direction, Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill writes.
  • The Nets believe Kevin Durant is close to returning but it’s unclear when that will happen, according to head coach Steve Nash. “I think he’s close, but I don’t think he’s there,” Nash said, per NetsDaily. “We’ll see tomorrow and Sunday if that’s a possibility. But it may not. It may bleed back into this road trip.” Nash added that guard Tyler Johnson, who has missed 10 straight games, is close to a return too.
  • The Nets are also currently without recent signee Alize Johnson as he is sidelined due to health and safety protocols, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews (Twitter link). Brooklyn recently inked Johnson to a multiyear deal after he signed a pair of 10-day deals.
  • Celtics trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier returned to the court on Friday in Brooklyn after missing nine games due to COVID-19. Fournier detailed his symptoms and noted he needs time to ramp up back into shape, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. “My experience — where do I start? The first two days I was doing great, no symptoms at all, and then flu-like symptoms, high fever, really tired, fatigue, all that,” Fournier said. “I honestly stayed in bed and slept for four or five days. The roughest part was ramping up the activity. The last two days of practice was really hard. I had moments where I was doing good and moments where I was exhausted.”

Nets Notes: Shamet, T. Johnson, Durant, James

Landry Shamet‘s recent scoring outburst is what the Nets were expecting when they acquired him from the Clippers in an offseason trade, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Shamet’s 30-point game Sunday at Miami continued a hot streak that has lasted throughout April. He is averaging 17.0 PPG this month while shooting 51.9% from three-point range and has taken on some of the point guard duties with James Harden injured.

“The NBA’s all about opportunity and been thrown into having to play some point guard minutes following up Kyrie (Irving) and alongside Kyrie,” Shamet said. “Ky’s been great. He’s taken me under his wing. Talks to me every day, believes in me. That goes a long way, knowing your teammates believe in you.

“I’m chopping wood and carrying water every day. It gets tedious having to do the little things every day that you might not want to, but it adds up. I trust in that. When you keep doing that — working on off days, watching film, asking questions and believing in myself — whatever comes from that I’m living with, because I’m doing everything in my power to put myself in the best position.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Injured guard Tyler Johnson has started running and doing shooting drills as he tries to work his way back from a sore knee, Lewis adds. Johnson has been sidelined since April 4 and hopes to return soon to help with Brooklyn’s push for the top seed in the East. “He has not played yet, so I’m not sure if that’s coming this week or not,” coach Steve Nash said. “It depends on literally every day, how he responds to his rehab and heightening his amount of mobility and activity. So we’ll see; but hopefully he’ll be back soon as well.”
  • Kevin Durant remains with the Nets on their road trip, which is a sign that his left thigh contusion isn’t overly serious, Lewis notes in a separate story. Durant was knocked out of Sunday’s game early, but team officials decided he didn’t need to go through any medical imaging or be sent back to Brooklyn.
  • Free agent guard Mike James is going through testing to satisfy the NBA’s health and safety protocols before he can sign with the Nets, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. James, who is expected to join the team this week, spent most of this season with CSKA Moscow.

Nets’ Johnson Likely Out 2-3 Weeks, Harden Still Bothered By Hamstring

Prior to Monday’s game vs. the Knicks, the Nets announced that guard Tyler Johnson will require a “period of rehabilitation and strengthening” to address the soreness in his right knee, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays (via Twitter).

The club didn’t offer a specific timeline for Johnson’s recovery, indicating in its announcement that updates on his status would be provided as appropriate. However, speaking later to reporters, head coach Steve Nash suggested that it would likely be a “two-or-three week thing” (Twitter link via Lewis).

Johnson has been a reliable rotation player for Brooklyn this season, averaging 16.8 minutes per contest in 31 games. However, he’s obviously not nearly as crucial to the team’s ongoing success as James Harden, who is dealing with a leg injury of his own.

After missing two games due to right hamstring tightness, Harden returned to action on Monday night, but only played four minutes before experiencing discomfort in the same hamstring and leaving the game, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.

As Lewis writes for The New York Post, Nash said that a pregame scan on Harden’s hamstring was clean and that his strength tests were normal, so there’s no indication that there’s any structural damage. For now, Harden is considered day-to-day — after the game, Nash expressed uncertainty about whether the former MVP would have to miss much time.

“This may linger. It may be all behind us like we thought it was before the game,” Nash said. “But it’s just one of those things where the scan is clean, the strength tests are clean, but he feels something, so we’re going to err on the side of caution.”

The banged-up Nets are also missing guards Landry Shamet, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury, and Spencer Dinwiddie, who is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season while recovering from ACL surgery.

On the plus side, star forward Kevin Durant, who has been out since February 13 with a hamstring injury of his own, is reportedly close to a return. And even while battling the injury bug, Brooklyn keeps winning. The team is currently 35-16, a half-game ahead of Philadelphia for the top seed in the East.

New York Notes: Nash, Marks, Toppin, Johnson, Pelle

Nets head coach Steve Nash recently praised general manager Sean Marks for constructing an impressive culture and roster, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. While both areas were strong before the season began, the recent signings of veterans Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge only helped strength Brooklyn’s culture – and roster – as the team continues its quest of winning a championship.

“Sean deserves the credit for pushing these things over the line and for having a vision to execute,” Nash said. “It may look straightforward and simple from the outside, but a lot goes into all these decisions, and Sean is very thorough in his approach, with the whole front office and then opinions from all the other departments as well.

“He’s done an unbelievable job, not just this year but in building the prior culture that was here before this team was here, building that position of strength and leverage for the roster over the course of the year. So I hope everyone understands what a great job he’s done and what a thorough and well-thought-out process he has. It’s been outstanding.”

Here are some other notes out of the Atlantic:

  • Knicks rookie Obi Toppin is gaining confidence as he continues to play with aggression, Barbara Barker of Newsday writes. Toppin scored eight points in 15 minutes off the bench against the Pistons on Friday. “I really like the way he’s been playing,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He played extremely well in the first half.” On the season, Toppin is averaging just 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game.
  • Nets guard Tyler Johnson will receive a scan on Monday after sustaining a knee injury against Chicago, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). The team called the injury a right knee strain before ruling the 28-year-old out for the rest of the game, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Johnson had to be helped off the court and was unable to put any weight on his leg.
  • Knicks 10-day player Norvel Pelle showed toughness after suffering a finger injury in his first game with the team on Saturday, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Pelle dislocated his finger, received treatment, and continued to play on despite suffering the injury. “Seeing a player like that that just joined us to go down with an injury and be able to wrap it right back up and make big blocks showed his energy,” Reggie Bullock said. “He’s a Knick type of player with the grit to continue to play in the game. We love that fight from him.’’ Pelle is currently listed a probable to play against Brooklyn on Monday, Berman tweets.