BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens wouldn't take the bait when asked if his team might have interest in freshly bought-out Joe Johnson for its open roster spot, but he reaffirmed that versatility and shooting top his wish list for the attributes of any player the team elects to bring in.
The Celtics currently have one open roster spot after waiving David Lee last Friday. Any player that's on the open market before March 1 is playoff-eligible. The Nets waived Johnson on Thursday following a buyout agreement and the 34-year-old wing will clear waivers on Saturday.
"[The 15th roster spot is] something that [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge is] looking at, Danny’s trying to figure out. We talk about it occasionally but, like I said before, we haven’t been in any rush to fill that spot," said Stevens. "And we’ll fill it if we need to, but sometimes those things happen as a result of injuries. Sometimes those things happen as a result of need. I think that each team has its own particular needs and I think that we’ve got some that we could potentially benefit from using that last roster spot. But we’ll see."
Added Stevens: "I think the biggest thing is just, any time you’re talking about winning in this league right now, I think versatility is huge. Certainly shooting’s a big deal. All those things come into play. Obviously, with Kelly [Olynyk] out, interior help is something that you’d have to consider but hopefully he’s not out too long. So there’s all kinds of things you could go through and look at but I think, when you’re talking about a team like us, if we choose to look at that last roster spot, I think that versatility stands out more than anything else."
Bucks coach Jason Kidd, who coached Johnson in Brooklyn, said a team is getting a noted closer by adding Johnson.
"Joe’s a true competitor. I wish him the best wherever he ends up," said Kidd. "He’s not afraid of having the ball late, so they get a closer. So wherever he ends up, they have a chance to win."
The Celtics, who are set to receive Brooklyn's unprotected first-round pick, stand to benefit from Johnson's buyout regardless of where he lands next. Thin on experienced wing depth, Boston could use Johnson. The Celtics can offer him more than most contenders with the $2.8 million room exception at their disposal, but Johnson will have no shortage of suitors, including those like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are a more surefire title contender.