Celts Faced with Tough Decision on Johnson

WALTHAM, Mass. – Chris Johnson has certainly made an impact during his short time with the Celtics but the team is unsure of whether it can retain him.

Johnson signed his second 10-day contract with the Celtics on Jan. 28. Brad Stevens on Tuesday addressed the decision that Boston will need to make once Johnson’s contract runs out later this week.

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson has made a positive impact on the Celtics since first joining the team on January 17, 2014.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

“We have not talked about it in finality or final details,” Stevens said, “but I do know that it will be a decision of can we afford to do it from a cap management and all of that standpoint that I don’t really understand the exact details of.”

The coach went on praise Johnson for his contributions since originally joining the team on Jan. 17.

“If we decide not to re-sign him, it won’t be because of anything that would be basketball related from a standpoint of his performance,” said Stevens. “I think every one of us would love to have him in the program for all that he’s meant at this point in time just in the last 20 days. He’s been fantastic.”

Johnson has made a legitimate impact during his seven games with the Celtics. He has scored in double-figures three times while shooting 40.7 percent from long range. Johnson has also excelled at the defensive end, logging a four-steal game and adding in several timely hustle plays.

There is no doubt that Johnson has played well enough to earn a rest-of-year contract. The Celtics would love to sign Johnson for the remainder of the season, but as Stevens said, financial obstacles may stand in the way. That’s the tough nature of this business. Stevens hopes that Johnson will understand that should the sharpshooter not land another deal with the C’s.

“The hardest thing for Chris is that he’s got to realize he can control what he can control,” said Stevens. “Hopefully he’s around here, but if he’s not, I don’t think by any means it will be the last time you see him. I think he’s going to have a nice career in the NBA.”

Johnson also received positive feedback from Boston’s captain, Rajon Rondo. Rondo let it be known that the young guard/forward has handled himself like a pro since joining the Celtics last month. Rondo also made a plea to keep Johnson around, saying, “Hopefully we can sign him for the rest of the year.”

That has to be music to Johnson’s ears as he watches the hours tick away on his second and final 10-day contract with the Celtics. Now he must wait and see if Danny Ainge can figure out a way to keep the young man around for the remainder of the season.