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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Sixers pursuing Amir Johnson

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Johnson is coming off a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics.

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards - Game Six Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Now that free agency has begun the Philadelphia 76ers are targeting former Boston Celtics power forward Amir Johnson, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 76ers will make a strong push for free agent Amir Johnson, according to an NBA source. The source said the power forward could very well be in a Sixers’ uniform next season.

Free agency begins at 12.01 a.m. Saturday. Players cannot sign free-agent contracts until 12 p.m. on July 6.

Johnson, a 12-year veteran, would provide a huge locker room presence and the veteran leadership the Sixers lost after waiving Gerald Henderson on Friday. Jerryd Bayless (nine-year veteran) and Robert Covington (four years) are the only players on the Sixers roster with more than three years of experience.

Johnson started a career-high 77 games last season, averaging 6.5 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor. The 30-year-old also shot 40.9 percent from beyond the arc on 66 attempts as the Celtics challenged him to expand his range.

Johnson started nine of the Celtics playoffs games, and averaged just 10.1 minutes per game. He’s a sound defender, but his limitations offensively made him difficult to play over Kelly Olynyk and even Jonas Jerebko as the Celtics got deeper into the playoffs.

Johnson’s price tag is a bit of a mystery at this point. He signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Boston Celtics in July 2015, with the second year completely non-guaranteed. Johnson had spent the previous six seasons with the Toronto Raptors, and was in more of a featured role towards the end of his tenure there. He may have started more games in Boston than in previous seasons, but his role was more marginalized there than before. He’s not necessarily in line for any real pay raise this summer.

Johnson does have a history with Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, however. Colangelo was the general manager of the Raptors when they acquired Johnson from the Detroit Pistons in 2009, then rewarded him with a five-year, $34 million contract the following summer.

According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Sixers have yet to jump into the Johnson sweepstakes. His suitors thus far include the Raptors, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.