Not every player needs to be lured in by dollar signs. When the Boston Celtics were courting Amir Johnson as the free agency period opened it was the respect the franchise showed him that ultimately won him over.
Amir Johnson said Danny Ainge was 1st call on July 1. Brad Stevens soon after. "They respect the type of player I am… It was a no-brainer."— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) July 12, 2015
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made Johnson his first priority, making the call to the free agent forward just after midnight on July 1. The Celtics clearly made an impression on Johnson by being the first team to contact him, so when they made a contract offer it was a "no-brainer" to accept.
"I just love the way they approached me," Johnson told reporters Saturday night in Las Vegas during summer league action. "They knew what type of player I was. They respected my game."
Johnson averaged 9.3 points and 6.1 rebounds last season for the Toronto Raptors. He is known as a hard worker that brings a lot of energy to his team, which he feels makes him a great fit for this young Celtics team.
"(They've got) a bunch of young guys that play hard and never quit and that's the type of player that I am," said Johnson. "I definitely feel like I'll fit in... I've got a lot to bring to the table."
The 6-foot-9 forward is the type of versatile defender that coach Brad Stevens values highly. He can bang in the post and has the range to stretch the floor. Johnson is a team player that is eager to fill any role that is asked of him.
I have a strong feeling that Celtics fans are going to really like Amir Johnson once they get to see him play. #intangibles— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) July 12, 2015
Johnson joins the Celtics on a $2-year, $24 million deal. The second year isn't guaranteed, allowing Boston to remain flexible with their payroll as the salary cap explodes, setting them up to potentially have space to make a big move next summer. Johnson may not be the flashy signing we were all hoping for, but he's the type of player that should quickly become a fan favorite in Boston.
It may have been a no-brainer for Johnson to join the Celtics, but with his contract looking like a bargain in this market, the same can be said about Boston's decision to sign him.