Joe Johnson, the veteran swingman, revealed Sunday that he chose to sign with Miami Heat over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and other suitors due to his relationship with Dwayne Wade and other Heat players.
The Cavaliers were perceived as frontrunners to sign Johnson, especially after LeBron James said last Friday “He (Johnson) knows that we want him” and that the former Nets guard would be a ‘great piece’ for the reigning Eastern Conference champions. Despite the early reports, Heat trumped Cavs and other suitors by inking Johnson to a veteran’s minimum contract.
“Man, I had a connection with a lot of guys here (in Miami),” the former six-time all-star said ahead of the game against New York Knicks. “D-Wade, (Amar’e Stoudemire), UD (Udonis Haslem), (these) guys I’ve been in contact with. Not just throughout this process, but over the years, and I just felt it was right,” said Johnson, while expressing his desire to finish his career in South Beach.
Joe Johnson can perform Ray Allen role…
Johnson, 34, doesn’t have too much left to offer. But he can still hit clutch shots and contribute against elite teams, a role that Ray Allen played to perfection during the Heat’s golden run between 2011 and 2014. “I think we’ve got a lot of veteran guys who know what it takes to win,” said the guard of his new team. And the possibility of remaining with the (Heat) was another key thing for me. I would love to finish my career here. Let’s see what happens,” added Johnson.
With Chris Bosh still suffering from medical complications, the Heat aren’t expected to make too much noise in the postseason. However, if Bosh were to return in time, it would be foolish to count Miami out as a legitimate threat to top seeds Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
According to an ESPN report, Johnson came to a decision after having dinner with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Wade on Saturday. “The skill set that he has fits very much (to our system),” Spoelstra said on Sunday. “He can play a lot of different positions…just fit in. Be aggressive. Be who you are. We’ll adapt to him.”
Joe Johnson averaged 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists before agreeing to a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets.