Word leaked late Thursday evening that the Toronto Raptors had resigned Amir Johnson to a five-year deal worth $34 million.
Not bad for a player who averaged 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds while playing 17.7 minutes per game last season.
Granted, Johnson bumped those averages to 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds back in April when he saw his minutes increase to 23.5 per game, but that’s still a heck of a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t been a regular starter in the NBA. Last season he only started five games and the previous season he started 24 games.
Despite not posting gaudy numbers last season reports have surfaced Golden State and Phoenix were interested in signing him.
However, according to his agent, Kevin Bradbury, the decision to return to Toronto was an easy one to make.
“Amir didn’t want to play the free agency game,” Bradbury told Yahoo! Sports. “He wanted to go back to Toronto. He’s young and he has security and a lot of basketball left in him.”
The fact Johnson resigned with Toronto doesn’t come as a surprise because he was back in Toronto last month working out with close friends and teammates Sonny Weems, Jarrett Jack and DeMar DeRozan.
Even though Johnson expressed excitement at the time about being reunited on the court with his friends that wasn’t his only reason for returning to the Air Canada Centre for some workouts. Last season his game improved leaps and bounds after spending a lot of time working with assistant coach Alex English and Johnson was attempting to steal some more more moves from the Hall of Fame big man.
“You know how English always had the ball up (when taking a jump shot) and get his shot off over anybody? I’m kind of stealing that from him,” Johnson admitted to Hoops Addict back in June.
It will be interesting to see what areas of Johnson’s game the two men continue to work on and how that allows the talented big man to continue to grow. Last season Johnson was able to bump his field goal percentage from an impressive 59% his last season in Detroit to a stunning 62% after spending a season working with English.
A big reason for this is due to the fact he was able to add a reliable mid-range jumper to his arsenal and wasn’t forced to rely on cutting to the bucket or finishing plays with dunks.
If Johnson continues to steal some more moves from English then this signing may end up to be a huge steal for the Raptors