Joe Johnson might be on the verge of an NBA comeback.
The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported Johnson will work out for the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. The seven-time All-Star is also expected to have workouts with the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets. Spears added the Pelicans to the list, with head coach Alvin Gentry and executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin having watched Johnson live.
After going unsigned to start the 2018-19 NBA season, the 38-year-old signed a contract with the BIG3 league in March. He averaged 21.9 points and shot 48.5 percent from the field in eight games for the Triplets en route to winning MVP.
Former NBA forward Brian Scalabrine, who plays in the BIG3 for the Ball Hogs, told The Athletic's Frank Isola that Johnson deserved one more shot in the NBA and that his success would help further establish BIG3's credentials.
"Joe Johnson is good offensively and defensively, Scalabrine said. "He can play pick-and-roll. He passes. He is an NBA player. He’s going to get a shot, and players are going to start using the BIG3 to get back into the league."
The obvious caveats apply.
The standard of the BIG3 league is well below that of the NBA, so Johnson's highlight reel deserves a level of scrutiny in terms of a possible return to the Association. He doesn't have to worry about running up and down the floor, either, since BIG3 only plays half-court basketball.
Johnson made 55 combined appearances for the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets in 2017-18. He averaged 6.8 points in a reserve role and shot 27.6 percent from three-point range. He finished with a minus-3.6 net rating as well, though he had a 1.8 net rating in 23 games with the Rockets, per NBA.com.
Although teams were justified in passing on Johnson last year, he has earned the right through his BIG3 play to get one more serious shot to prolong his NBA career.
Robert Louis Pangilinan is a Filipino sports columnist, reporter and photographer. He is currently employed with Policefiles and Sportsmanila.net. sports beat: basketball, boxing, mma, billiards,marathon and baseball.
Makaraan ang matigtig na linggo para sa 77-strong training pool ng Sibol, ang Philippine Team na kakatawan sa bansa ng esports medaled events para sa 30th SEA Games, tanging 27 athletes ang nakapasok sa final na listahan ng team.