From ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg, “Chris Johnson Set to Sign For Season”:
WALTHAM, Mass. — Chris Johnson can finally unpack.
The Boston Celtics informed Johnson Thursday, hours before his second 10-day contract is set to expire, that they plan to retain him for the remainder of the season.
Johnson, a 23-year-old swingman, averaged 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal in 21.5 minutes per game in eight appearances over his two 10-day contracts with the team. Despite a need to maintain salary-cap and roster flexibility in advance of the Feb. 20 trade deadline, Boston is committing to Johnson, and that’s a sign of just how much they like him.
Now Johnson has his first honest-to-goodness, long-term NBA security, and coach Brad Stevens hopes he maximizes it as he did when on temporary deals.
“To me, the greatest stories in sports start with a chip on your shoulder,” said Stevens. “[Johnson has] got an automatic chip. Now the key is, as you get extended opportunities, is to keep the chip. To keep hungry. That’s another human-nature test. That’s the next one coming for guys like that. I think it’s a great story, but it’s not like it’s some miracle. It’s the result of hard work, doing the right things, not being scared of the moment, taking advantage of opportunities, those type of things.”
Johnson’s first call after getting news that he’d be sticking around?
“I called my mom,” said Johnson. “I gave her a call, just to let her know about the news, and she was pretty excited, too.”