After a failed stint with both the Bulls and now Raptors, it appears James Johnson is moving onto his third team in four seasons.
Make fun of Andrea Bargnani one too many times?
Tell Bryan Colangelo that he didn't know how to run a team?
Seriously, Johnson must have done SOMETHING pretty bad because ESPN.com reported very early this AM that he's been traded to the Sacramento Kings for a measly second-round pick.
Now the ESPN report is saying that this move was done to increase cap space and sure, that's one outcome. But on a team that has no true small forward, sorry, don't buy it. Landry Fields has had success at the 3 in the past and was already slated to be the starter this coming season, but behind Fields there was really only Johnson. Linas Kleiza has always been more effective as a 4 and I don't think any of us are ready to buy into the "DeRozan is a small forward" talk just yet.
Not to mention that this trade essentially means that the Dinos gave up a first-round pick (the one they used to originally obtain Johnson) for a second-rounder. Sure, the Kings will likely be amongst the league's cellar dwellars again next year and therefore the second-round pick could be a high one, but there's no word on exactly when said second-rounder will be available for the Raptors' use. With some solid talent beginning to accumulate in Sacto, it's quite possible that by the time the Raps see this pick, it's a mid to late second-rounder.
The move puts the Raps roster to 11 by my count so there will likely be some more moves to come, especially since it sounds like Colangelo is still trying to find a new home for Jose Calderon.
It also on paper looks like another bad move by Colangelo.
Never mind that Johnson was one of the more effective players for the Raps last year, but to me this is another "lack of foresight" move. At the time the Raps acquired Johnson I was skeptical he'd make much of an impact and also worried that if a team like the Bulls had given up on him, then it was hard to see him being a key piece on the Raptors.
I was off-base on the former as Johnson did show some strengths that positioned him well for a solid NBA career, but on the latter, it appears I was on to something. Whether Johnson just would not consistently play the role coaches feel he's most suited for or, as mentioned off the top, did something more egregious, there indeed appeared to be a reason the Bulls gave up on him so soon.
Whether Colangelo's back-ground check wasn't thorough enough prior to obtaining Johnson, or whether new problems manifested themselves during his tenure in Toronto, it's hard to see a talented piece leave the club, especially for so little in return.
That being said, none of us are inside the Raps' locker room 24-7 and it's possible that the Johnson trade is a win chemistry-wise as his presence was detrimental to overall team improvement, morale, etc, etc.
But at face value this looks again like Colangelo having to take 50 cents on the dollar for an erroneous acquisition.