After spending the past year away from the NBA, it appears that Joe Johnson is one step closer to returning to the league with the Detroit Pistons for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
According to Bleacher Report, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweeted on Thursday that the 38-year-old Johnson agreed to a partially guaranteed one-year contract with the Pistons. This comes shortly after the veteran wingman averaged 21.8 points per game and won MVP honors in the most recent BIG3 season, attracting the attention of several NBA teams in the process.
Additionally, NBC Sports cited a tweet from Yahoo Sports‘ Chris Haynes, who reported on Thursday that the Pistons will be “waiving” forward Michael Beasley, presumably to free up a roster spot for Johnson. However, this was countered by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who tweeted that Detroit won’t have to waive Beasley, as the former No. 2 overall draft pick didn’t actually sign a contract with the Pistons. Instead, he noted that “barring a trade” to free up another spot on the roster, Johnson will be competing against youngster Christian Wood for the 15th and final spot.
The conflicting reports on Beasley came close to a month after Charania tweeted that the 30-year-old forward agreed to — but did not sign — a one-year contract with the Pistons, per a report on the team’s official NBA page. Beasley played just 26 games for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018-19 NBA season, averaging seven points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Clippers on February 7 and waived just two days later, thus allowing him to suit up in the Chinese Basketball Association.
If Johnson makes the Pistons’ final roster, this will mark his return to the NBA after last splitting time with the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets in the 2017-18 season. Coming off the bench for both teams, Johnson averaged a combined 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds and shot just 40.6 percent from the field. But since BIG3 is a three-on-three half-court league where its teams only play one game per week, Bleacher Report warned that the 17-year NBA veteran’s recent performance might not be a good indicator of how well his comeback could go.
As reported late last month by The Inquisitr, Johnson was purportedly scheduled to work out for a number of teams, including the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, and Philadelphia 76ers, in hopes of making an NBA comeback. The Pistons, however, were not mentioned, at the time, as a potential destination for the seven-time All-Star.