Houston Rockets are kicking the tires on forward James Johnson

Miami Heat forward James Johnson, whom the Houston Rockets have interest in (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Miami Heat forward James Johnson, whom the Houston Rockets have interest in (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are kicking the tires on forward James Johnson, who is reportedly available after the blockbuster Heat trade. What does he bring?

Houston Rockets fans — the trade deadline is on final approach and now the team just has hours to get a deal done before the clock strikes the point of no return.  Today’s NBA trade deadline is scheduled for 2 p.m. CST.

The team has already executed a four-team, 12-player trade that has sent forward Robert Covington and power forward/center Jordan Bell to H-Town.  The Houston Rockets also picked up a 2024 second-rounder from the Golden State Warriors that will be via the Atlanta Hawks.

In the deal, the Houston Rockets gave up Clint Capela, Gerald Green and their 2020 first-rounder in order to get their fair share of the pact complete.

Covington is exactly the type of forward that the Houston Rockets need, being able to play terrific on both ends of the floor with the ability to shoot prolifically.  Rumors have long been tied to the former undrafted free agent signed by the Houston Rockets, only to blossom into one of the NBA’s greatest success stories.

Bell, 25, is the type of the guy that you’d want to have on the roster to continue to develop and although he wasn’t used much with the Minnesota Timberwolves, his playing time will increase with this team and I think he’ll be a valuable interior defender, which is certainly his calling card.

I’d imagine both would be available for tonight’s tough contest against the Los Angeles Lakers.

But after sending Capela out, the Houston Rockets still have a need for more of an inside presence even though they’ve had success with playing small ball with 6-foot-5 P.J. Tucker starting at center, dubbed the Tuckwagon lineup.  That’s not going to work with every opponent so they must find reinforcements by the deadline today to help with the void of Capela.

In light of all of what I just said, they’re already working on it…

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Houston Rockets have been kicking the tires on forward James Johnson, who is reportedly available amid the Miami Heat agreeing in principle with the Memphis Grizzlies and working with Oklahoma City Thunder to send Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari to South Beach.

The Heat will be hard-capped when they add both to their roster so they’ll have to send out at least $39.8 million in salary in order to make this happen.  Jackson indicates that Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and Johnson are all on the table as prime candidates to be included in a package.

Waiters and Johnson were scratched from last night’s lineup in their contest against the Los Angeles Clippers, further indicating their availability.

Johnson would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets; and, like Bell, he has been seldom used by the Heat but could grow into something special, helping this team tear through the postseason if he were brought into the fold.

He’s another definition of a guy who resembles the mantra of “three-and-D” as he’s able to take care of the basketball on both ends of the floor, which is something he does quite well.

The 10-year sharpshooting veteran and the 16th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft out Wake Forest has spent nearly the past four seasons with the Heat with stops at the Toronto Raptors (2010-11, 2014-16), Grizzlies (2013-14), Sacramento Kings (2012-13) and the Chicago Bulls (2009-11).

Johnson will earn approximately $15.1 million this season with him holding a $15.8M player

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option for next season before becoming a free agent in 2021.  I’m sure if the Houston Rockets want to keep him, they’ll probably convince him to waive his option if they’re going to be working around the cap, which is expected.

The prorated portion of Johnson’s remaining contract is $7.56M, which would be well under the $12M that they reportedly have to spend after freeing up some space with the Capela trade.

If such a deal were made for Johnson — and you know how much Mike D’Antoni loves his veterans — I wouldn’t be opposed to it and I’d actually applaud it.

We’ll have to see what happens but I know that come the deadline, Morey will have additional help inked with the Houston Rockets.

Next. Rockets: Trading Capela is best for the team's championship hopes. dark

Johnson, 32, is averaging 5.7 points and 2.9 rebounds off a .448/.356/.571 shooting line through 18 games this season.