Seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson last saw NBA action back in the 2017-18 season, when he split time between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets, averaging 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds over 55 games but playing just eight total minutes for Houston in that year’s postseason.
After that, Johnson was the final training-camp cut for the Detroit Pistons ahead of the 2019-20 campaign (they went with Christian Wood instead, which turned out to be a very wise decision), and has since failed to latch on anywhere else.
However, that doesn’t mean the 39-year-old is ready to hang up his sneakers.
In a recent interview with the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazzette, Johnson told journalist Bob Holt that he wants to keep his playing career going and that even heading overseas to play is an option:
Johnson said some NBA teams reached out to him after the TBT about the possibility of signing with them for next season. Playing overseas for a couple of seasons, Johnson said, also is an option he’s considering. “I still have that itch to hoop,” he said. “I still love the game. I just can’t give it up right now.”
NBA interest in Johnson following his TBT performance makes sense, considering he averaged 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists over the summer league.
Johnson also said in that same interview that he believes he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in:
Johnson said he has worked hard to stay in top shape physically. “You get one body, and you’ve got to take care of it,” he said. “That’s your temple. Right now I’m in some of the best shape I’ve ever been in. I watch what I eat. I do a lot of hot yoga, which is so detoxifying for your body, so good for your muscles and joints and bones. I know I can’t give that up, and that’s definitely what’s helped keep me going over the years. Especially these later years.”
It’ll be interesting to see where Johnson winds up.
If Johnson is serious about continuing his playing career overseas, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) could make a lot of sense. Not only does it pay pretty well, but many ex-NBA players in the later parts of their careers have thrived there, like Stephen Marbury, Michael Beasley and Tracy McGrady, just to name a few.
A top Euroleague team would make less sense, as the game there is more about taking a team-first approach and less about individual players going out and getting buckets.
Needless to say, that would make a player nicknamed Iso Joe not so great of a fit there, particularly in this stage of his career.
For more on Joe Johnson’s free agency, keep an eye on this page.