The Portland Trail Blazers waived former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden Thursday afternoon to make room for their deadline acquisitions, but the more noteworthy aspect for the Boston Celtics might be that young center Chris Johnson was also released by the team.
Johnson spent part of the training camp with the Celtics before the 2010-11 season, then got plucked out of the D-League on a 10-day contract after Boston was thinned up front by the Kendrick Perkins trade at last year's deadline. Johnson appeared in four games for the Green, chipping in six points and five rebounds over 32 minutes of floor time.
Coach Doc Rivers expressed a desire to hold onto him even as his 10-day stint expired, but a need for a backup point guard instead forced the team to sign a bought out Carlos Arroyo. Johnson went on to sign with the Blazers and spent the past calendar year with the team before being released on Thursday.
Would the Celtics be interested in Johnson? There's certainly a value in a 26-year-old with some familiarity of your system, particularly when you're just looking for someone to eat minutes over the next 45 days. But both coach Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge preached patience in the process of adding another big man, suggesting they'll likely take some time to see who emerges in the buyout market as teams shuffle their rosters before next Friday's playoff eligibility waiver deadline.
If the Celtics end up with multiple open spots on their roster -- depending on how they proceed with both Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal -- it seems reasonable that Boston could eye Johnson. But it would also seem the preference would be waiting to see if someone more established -- like New Orleans' Chris Kaman -- is bought out and seeks the opportunity to join a playoff-bound squad that can offer plenty of frontcourt minutes (at least until the postseason).