After sitting out of the NBA last season, Joe Johnson returned to the court in a competitive manner this summer, joining Tri-State Triplets of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league, BIG3. He flat-out dominated, winning MVP and leading his squad to the title, which he clinched with a game-winning 3-pointer. As it turns out, his impressive cameo on the halfcourt may earn him another contract in the NBA.
According to a report from ESPN’s Marc Spears, Johnson worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers last week. In addition, the veteran has workouts planned with a number of other contenders, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin later added that Johnson will also meet and workout with the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets.
Johnson’s last NBA action came in the 2017-18 season, when he played 55 games split between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. He was mostly a bit player for the Rockets, averaging just 6.8 minutes during the postseason as Houston pushed the Golden State Warriors to the brink in the Western Conference finals.
Already in his late 30s, and with over $220 million in the bank, it wasn’t a surprise that Johnson appeared to be done in the NBA after that season. But as this BIG3 campaign has shown, he still has something left in the tank. There’s no reason to expect him to play heavy minutes for any team, but he has plenty of experience and is still an effective isolation scorer. There’s a reason they call him Iso Joe.
As the playoffs have shown us time and again, teams are so well prepared for what you’re trying to do on offense that sometimes you need to just give someone the ball and tell them to get you a bucket. Johnson, even at 38, can still do that. There’s no one else out there with his kind of talent and experience that contending teams could sign, and at the very least he’s worth a look for all of the contenders who are reportedly interested.
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