The NBA rumors are still going strong after the trade deadline, with reports that Joe Johnson is headed to the Houston Rockets after the Sacramento Kings complete his buyout.
Johnson landed in Sacramento on a trade deadline deal, but his stay is not expected to be long. The 36-year-old Johnson had expressed a desire to play for a title-contending team in what could be his final hurrah in the league, so the Kings are completing a contract buyout that will free Johnson to find a new team.
There were initially some differing rumors about where Joe Johnson would end up, but it now appears that the Houston Rockets have emerged as the destination. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reported that Johnson has already told the Rockets that he will sign with them, and that rumor has been backed up the Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
If the NBA rumors are true, the move would reunite Joe Johnson with former coach Mike D’Antoni and could be a major boost to the Rockets as they approach the final stretch of the regular season. The Rockets remain in striking distance of the top spot in the Western Conference, and Johnson’s veteran leadership could be the best fit with a coach who has shown an ability to get the best out of him in the past.
Johnson also has a career 112 postseason games in his career, Bleacher Report noted, an experience that could be invaluable when the Rockets look to make it beyond the second round for the first time in three years. Johnson would provide important depth and a shooting touch off the bench, which could spell James Harden and Eric Gordon down the stretch and help keep the team healthy toward the playoffs and beyond.
The Rockets would seem to be a better fit for Joe Johnson than he found in Utah, CBS Sports noted. Playing in Houston will give Johnson a chance to play in a faster-paced offense and play off other three-point shooters. Johnson has shot 37 percent from behind the arc for his career, the report noted, though he has hit a career-low 27 percent this year.