The Houston Rockets are adding another player from the buyout market, as this time it will be veteran shooting guard/small forward Joe Johnson once his buyout from the Sacramento Kings is official.
Johnson is slated to become a free agent Monday afternoon after he clears waivers, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Wojnarowski was also the first to report that Johnson had officially committed to signing with the Rockets as well after Houston’s interested in Johnson was mentioned by others last night.
Sacramento absorbed the contract of Johnson in a three-team trade on Thursday that involved Rodney Hood and George Hill being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And with the Kings being out of playoff contention and more focused on developing their youth, it makes sense for them to meet Johnson’s request for a buyout so that he can join the team that currently has the NBA’s best record.
The 36-year-old Johnson is the 2nd acquisition by the Rockets on the buyout market, joining the signing of Brandan Wright, who will be bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies. If you remember correctly, the Rockets also signed wing Gerald Green back in December, which means that the Rockets have made three solid depth additions to their roster, without having to subtract any of their future assets.
Houston is expected to waive guard Bobby Brown in-order to open up a roster spot for Johnson, even though Brown was signed by the team for the remainder of the season yesterday. This will be the second-time in his career that Johnson will join a playoff team in-season after being bought out, as he joined the Miami Heat in 2015-2016 and played a vital role for Miami after being bought out by the Brooklyn Nets.
ESPN also notes that Johnson is just 39 three-pointers away from becoming the 9th player in NBA history to hit 2,000 threes. He would join Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Stephen Curry, Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce, Kyle Korver, Jason Terry, Reggie Miller, and Ray Allen in the 2,000 three-pointers club.
Before being traded to the Kings, Johnson was serving in a bench role for the Utah Jazz, averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Johnson’s percentages from the field and three-point range are down from his career standards, but that can be attributed to a wrist injury that cause Johnson to miss time.
The 36-year-old Johnson will likely sign with the Rockets for the rest of the season at the NBA minimum, which will help added to his $214 million career earnings, which is fourth among active NBA players behind only Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Dirk Nowitzki.
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