Just hours after completing a deal to bring JJ Redick into the fold, Philadelphia snagged another veteran. The Sixers have reportedly signed veteran forward Amir Johnson to a one-year, $11 million contract, according to
Yahoo’s ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent Amir Johnson has agreed to a one-year, $11M deal with Philadelphia, agent Kevin Bradbury tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2017
Unlike the fit with Redick, this isn’t as smooth a fit. Johnson the player is perfectly fine and can split time between both front court spots, giving you plenty of energy and the ability to switch on pick-and-rolls. He also has a strong reputation in the clubhouse, and he’ll help guide the Sixers’ young guys as their games and minds mature.
The concern, however, will be just how big of a role he’s going to expect. He started 70+ games in each of the last four years for the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, two teams that were competing for spots in the Eastern Conference Finals. Though he ultimately only topped out at 28 minutes per game in his best year—and played just 20 a game last year—there will be questions about how much playing time he’s going to expect with a young group.
Brett Brown already has to walk a fine line with the players on hand. Ben Simmons and Dario Saric are both best suited to guard the power forward spot, and even guys like Robert Covington could use minutes there in small-ball lineups. By adding Johnson, you’re mucking that up a little bit, and adding some confusion into expectations for other players on the roster.
Speaking of Covington, you should probably expect him to command a decent chunk of what’s left in Sixers cap space. They have somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million left to spend, and when they can renegotiate with Covington this fall, expect him to demand a bunch of money.
Still, it’s a mostly harmless move, and bringing him in on a one-year deal preserves future cap space. The Sixers haven’t had a strong bench in some time, and with Saturday’s additions, they continue to get deeper and deeper. If nothing else, that’s cause for celebration.
Editor’s Note: This has to spell the end of the Jahlil Okafor era, right? There’s just no way he’s getting minutes with all these front court guys that need to get on the floor.