Ex-Celtic Eyeing NBA Return After 3-Year Hiatus: Report

Joe Johnson Eyeing NBA Comeback

Getty Joe Johnson #1 of the Triplets looks on during the BIG3 Playoffs.

He hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2018 playoffs. However, Iso Joe believes he’s still got enough juice left in the tank to add a scoring punch to a title contender.

A seven-time All-Star and former draft pick of the Boston Celtics, Joe Johnson is evidently not quite ready to hang up his sneakers as HoopsHype has reported that 39-year-old has an upcoming workout scheduled with the Milwaukee Bucks at some point this week.

The 17-year NBA veteran has been striving for a comeback, putting in extensive work in both the BIG3 basketball league and more recently, as a member of the USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team. In February, Johnson appeared in two games for Team USA, averaging 11 points, nine rebounds and 6.5 assists in 26 minutes per game. Even at his older age, Johnson flaunted lethal efficiency, shooting 50% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc.

Even with the recent acquisition of Jabari Parker, the Celtics could certainly use another scoring option on their second unit, as the team currently owns the second-to-worst scoring bench in all of basketball. With that said, there doesn’t appear to be any interest from the Celtics regarding the former No. 10 overall pick at this time. Yet, that’s not to say that other teams aren’t interested in scooping Johnson before Milwaukee can get their hands on him.

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Johnson Receiving Interest From Other Teams, Celtics Rivals

According to Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, Johnson is garnering attention from numerous other suitors including the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets.

The latter two teams certainly jump off the screen, as Johnson has previously spent time with both franchises. The veteran wing enjoyed a productive, near-four-year run with the Nets, including a 2013-’14 campaign where he averaged 15.8 ppg and shot 40.1% from 3-point range en route to his most recent All-Star berth. He also spent 110 games with the Utah Jazz from 2016-2017, averaging 8.6 ppg as he took a backseat to Gordon Hayward and then Donovan Mitchell in the scoring department.

Over his illustrious NBA career, Johnson has averaged 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists while owning a 44.1% field-goal percentage and 37.1% 3-point percentage. More importantly, he’s appeared in 120 career playoff games, adding an accomplished, veteran presence to any team that takes a flyer on him.

Johnson is Not Content With How Things Ended

Johnson’s most recent stint in the NBA came with the Houston Rockets, averaging 6.0 points on 38% shooting from the field in 23 games during the 2017-18 season. Johnson revealed to The Undefeated that following his time with the Rockets, he received “no interest” from teams in free agency — although had a team come calling, his mother’s health would have ultimately prevented him from playing that season.

Johnson eventually made his way to the BIG3 in 2019, where he would go on to capture MVP honors after leading the league in points (175), four-point shots (four), total field goals (63) and assists (31).

Despite taking the BIG3 by storm, the conclusion to his tenure with the Rockets has left an-ever lasting sour taste in Johnson’s mouth, who is eager to rewrite the ending of his highly-acclaimed NBA career.

“I had a great career. I enjoyed the process,” Johnson said, per Marc J. Spears. “The only thing that keeps the NBA fire in the belly is how it ended in Houston. That just does not sit well with me. So, if an opportunity comes along and I feel that it is worth it, yeah, I take that chance.”

Now, with a potential run at an NBA title looming, Johnson can help put a stamp on his Hall-of-Fame caliber career.

“What the Milwaukee Bucks will be adding if they sign Joe is a Hall of Fame player,” University of Arkansas at Little Rock coach Darrell Walker said, via The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

“Joe should be with an NBA team,” claimed Walker. “He’s still skilled enough to play 15, 16 minutes a game for anybody.”


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