Your contract expires after the season and the Celtics have a couple young big men stashed overseas. Have you thought about your future beyond this season? Johnson: “I haven’t thought about it. My summer plan is just like getting my daughter’s room in order and building the play set in the backyard. That’s it. That’s my mindset. I’ll be doing the same things: getting my body right during the summer, being prepared for games. I’m really the type of player that can really just go out there and play with anybody, whether I’m starting the game or coming off the bench, I can give a little bit of something. Hopefully I can come back here and continue what we’ve got going. I was with Toronto for six years and Detroit for four. I’ve been here for two years. I haven’t been going team to team, just one-year rides. You see some guys that go to different teams every year. I kind of like to stay in one place for a while.”
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Storyline: Amir Johnson Free Agency
So it was galling to the Celtics guard to read — on Twitter, naturally — that he had been included in the NBA’s percolating rest controversy, lumped in with LeBron James, the Spurs and every Golden State star not named Kevin Durant. “Every time somebody sits out now, somebody thinks it’s for rest, and I’m not one of those guys,” the Celtics guard, clearly feeling caught in the crossfire, said last week. “Not to put anything against those guys, but I’m not one of those guys. I don’t ever want to rest.”
“I mean, I apologize to that kid, because I was once one of those kids,” he said. “I remember once when the Seattle Sonics played the Sacramento Kings, and I went to see Jason Williams. He couldn’t play because he had a migraine.” The experience stuck well enough that when Thomas was drafted by Sacramento, he just had to know. “Once I got drafted to the Kings, I asked the trainer — and he said yes, he really had migraines and he couldn’t play when he had it,” he said. “So I understand that. But what I was telling him was, just tell your kid why I’m not there. Don’t act like I’m not showing up because I’m resting. That’s what made me upset.”
“You know what, out of my 12-year career, I’ve never been interested in stats. At all,” said Johnson, who also happens to lead the Celtics in ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus metric, sitting 19th overall in the NBA. “That fact, man, it really doesn’t matter as long as we’re winning games and doing the right things on the floor. That’s pretty much all that really matters to me. I mean, I could score zero points and, if we win, that’s everything to me. I get happy when I set a good screen and get [Thomas] open for a bucket.”
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What have been your impressions of Brad Stevens after two seasons in Boston? Johnson: “He’s very detailed, man. He watches a ton of film. He knows his stats where … I’ve never even heard of some of the stats he says. He really has stuff to back up what he’s saying. He puts the numbers together somehow. When you have a guy that’s very persistent with what he does, working and watching film, he’s just a guy that’s easy to listen to because he [works at it] every single day and he doesn’t change.”
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A similar trend may be taking shape with Boston with Johnson being a near-Iron Man this season with 70 starts in 73 games, both tops among all Celtics players. And while his minutes are less than other starters, it’s clear in watching him play closely that Boston has a tremendous amount of respect and value for what Johnson brings to the table at both ends of the floor. We saw in the win over a scrappy Miami Heat team, the way Johnson made an impact at both ends of the floor.
Boston Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry told the Boston Herald he will interview with UMass Monday for its vacant head coaching position. This will be Shrewsberry’s second interview. According to sources familiar with the process, Shrewsberry is one of a small group of candidates still involved in the process. UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford reportedly met with an unidentified coach Sunday and might meet with another after Shrewsberry on Monday.