For the second time, Joe Johnson will move on from the Boston Celtics.
The 40-year-old, who was a first-round pick by the Celtics (10th overall) in 2001, returned to the team — much to the delight of fans — on a 10-day hardship contract while the team was working through its COVID-19 outbreak. But he will not sign another such deal with the team, head coach Ime Udoka confirmed Sunday afternoon.
While his time with the Celtics has come to an end, Udoka said he is confident Johnson could benefit another NBA team should the need arise.
“From a physical and ability to play standpoint, yes (he can still play in the NBA),” Udoka said before Sunday’s game. “He was somebody that if we had more positives pop up, we would have been confident throwing him in for more minutes. His experience stood out immediately, his voice stood out immediately in the locker room, and from a respect level from all of the players that’s something that was very notable.”
Johnson played in one game during his latest stint with the Celtics, coming in for garbage time Dec. 22 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His contract officially expired Saturday.
He has played in the BIG3 since retiring from the NBA and was named the league’s MVP for the second time in September.
While it won’t be with the Celtics, at least Udoka won’t be surprised if Johnson is back on the other side of an NBA floor son.