It’s a 2-year deal and Ryan Wolstat has some details:

Johnson inked a two-year deal, worth about $2.5 million US a season, slightly more than the $2.077 million bi-annual exception, since other teams were sniffing around him. Johnson revived his flagging NBA career with a strong 52 game stretch in Memphis last season.

This is the wing defender that you guys wanted and you got him, and this also marks the end of the Vince Carter return talk.  For what it’s worth, Johnson was half-decent after he was shipped to Sacramento, making some fans even regret letting him go.  Johnson was acquired in 2010-11 as part of a late first-rounder and then shipped out in 2011-12 as part of moves that only Bryan Colangelo ever understood.

A first-round pick (16th) of the Chicago Bulls in 2009, Johnson spent last season with the Grizzlies where he averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 18 minutes in 52 games.

Johnson is best known for having facial expressions like these:


The Raptors depth at Small Forward is now Terrence Ross, Landry Fields, and James Johnson.   Depending on how you rate Bruno Caboclo, throw him in there as well.  RR Prediction: Fans will be begging for Dwane Casey to play Bruno Caboclo over James Johnson in the name of player development by mid-November.

 UPDATE 11:08 (William)

I hate to be a stickler on this, but Johnson was charged with domestic assault, although the case has was dismissed. Something to consider. The deal is reportedly 2-years, $5 million. It’s unsure as of yet if both years are fully guaranteed.

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  • notdougsmith

    isn’t he going to be possibly suspended for the domestic violence case or am I missing something?

    • 2damkule

      NBA generally doesn’t work like that…tendency is to take a ‘wait & see how it plays out in the courts’ before teams/league get involved.

      • Exactly. It’s probably true that he did it – very few abuse allegations are made up – but one of the articles said there were no signs of harm on his wife, which to me means he’ll probably get a restraining order and an anger management course, maybe probation, but won’t likely serve jail time. In that case, I doubt the NBA or the Raptors will suspend him.

  • 2damkule


  • Jensan

    Heard wife did not attend court . Case dismissed! Should have anger managent course or be gone

  • Morg

    For anyone wondering about his domestic violence case:

  • notdougsmith

    so the MLE is gone unless they trade fields/camby right?

    • 2damkule

      naw, but a part is…deal was too big to use bi-annual exemption, required using some of the MLE, but there’s still some of the MLE left, and the BAE.

      • DDD

        lol the bae



    • 2damkule

      he played pretty damn well with the grizz. if he’s matured, and has learned to play to his strengths, then he could be a valuable contributor off the bench. let’s just say he’s a 100% improvement over salmons, and had he been getting salmon’s minutes against the nets, that series could well have turned out differently.



        • 2damkule


      • bobjoe

        “play to his strengths”

        Like jacking up a career high rate of threes and missing?

        • 2damkule


    • De Colo

      Why you yelling?



        • De Colo

          haha, was just trying to make sure everything was ok

    • Trini

      What are you talking about? He played pretty good when he was here, I remember he was our only capable wing defender and the only guy with any balls. What happened was that he feuded with Triano, probably cause Triano was a horrible coach. You need to get your facts together

      • 2damkule

        story goes, he ‘feuded’ with casey as well, in that they almost came to blows in a practice.



  • Trini

    Love the signing. I remember his aggressive, physical D and how he used to give opposing wings tons of headaches. He fits the new style of this team perfectly. Another good move by Masai, oh and JJ put up a PER over 18 last season, let’s hope his offensive game continues here.

  • Xtremenator1

    I was saying the Raptors should sign him the other day and people were calling me crazy. Guess that means Masai’s crazy too. Either way, if he can get his stuff together he will be an invaluable commodity to the team. Its just a risk you’re willing to take when you want to get to that next level. Hey, maybe Ross becomes that all star wing defender whom we seen glimpses of throughout the season, and it will make Johnson merely expendable? Ya never know.

    • Trini

      Ross is already a good defender in his own right, but he’s undersized against the LeBrons, Melos, Joe Johnsons.. James Johnson was brought in for exactly that reason. It’s more about having options than replacing certain players.

      • Xtremenator1

        How is Ross already a good defender if he can’t defend anyone good? #Logic Johnson will cover those needs which was why I wanted them to sign him, or Ariza, or Tucker, etc. Ross will still be a starter and get more minutes, but when it gets down to crunch time you put Johnson in and hope for the best.

        • Trini

          Uhh firstly, save the hashtags for twitter kid.

          Secondly, I never said he can’t guard anyone GOOD, I said he struggles guarding guys that are BIG for the 3 and like to post up. Ross is more of a 2 and can guard all 2s and some smaller 3s like Paul George for example.

          • Xtremenator1

            Isn’t calling people “kids” so 2009? I mean seriously, just have an intellectual debate without going into insulting your opponent. Most players who are SF are big. If you put him at the guard spot, than you are putting Derozan against those same bigs. So you’re not fixing anything. Neither one of them can defend a good SF, which is why you put Johnson in when it comes down to those moments when its crunch time. You could always have Ross come out when its on the offensive end, and then sub him out when they’re on defensive for Johnson.

            • John

              I have a thought that the overall expectation is that Ross can develop his strength and defense to the point where he is capable of gaurding the Joe Johnsons and other big SFs, but in the mean time Masai is playing it safe and adding a big SF who can already defend those spots. I still don’t think in crunch time he will have Johnson playing ahead of Ross tho, unless Ross is heavily mismatched which would have shown throughout that specific game. Overall tho, I think Ross is the expected crunch time player.

              • Guest

                I think Ross will be a great defender in time, but that time isn’t now which is why they drafted Bruno and acquired Johnson. I expect Ross to play most games at the end, as there isn’t too many bugs in the East anyways. But if he gets outmatched by guys like James, Johnson, Anthony, etc. That’s when you bring Johnson in. And like I said, it would only be for defensive stops. After free throws or timeouts Ross would come back in for the offensive end of the court.

                • Trini

                  So let me get this straight: Ross isn’t a great defender now, and that’s why they brought in an 18 yr old Brazilian kid who has never played against real competition? The stuff you read on these boards sometimes… Lol

              • Xtremenator1

                Double post my bad.

        • Trini

          And it’s not about ‘crunch time,’ so save me your #cliches. This signing is about depth and matchups.

        • Dr. Scooby

          Dunno ’bout not being able to defend anybody ‘good’…ask Paul George about Ross’ defense.

        • leftovercrack

          Against big dominant SFs you put in JJ to smother them, and you balance his poor outside shooting by playing Patterson at PF instead of Amir, who comes off the bench. 2Pat is a good outside/3-point shooter which compensates for having JJ on the wing

  • DDD

    he played well on memphis, so hopefully that carries over next year as he is a big physical defender

  • robertparish00

    Does it speak to JJ or Doug Smith that there was only 25 favourites on that, lol.

  • Arse, I think you’re understating how decent he was in his time as a Raptor. While he sometimes played out of his skill level and chucked shots he really had no business taking, he also brought defensive intensity and shotblocking from the 3 position. Good pickup – better than someone like Aminu or Wes Johnson or Xavier Henry…

    • Wes mantooth

      I actually really liked him when he was in Toronto as well. Had a bit of an Xfactor thing goin on, but is take all three of those younger guys over him. Henry could be good. And wes Johnson could he one of those players that needs the right home. I watched alotta lakers last season cause I live here and I think he still might mature

      • John

        I think defensively James Johnson is probably a better fit for the Raps. Henry and Wes were great for LA and athletically they were a force, but James Johnson is just as good athletically and he also is a better on ball defender and is familiar with Duane Casey’s defensive system already having played for him a few years back. He will likely win the Raps about 3 games himself based on his X-Factor level impact as you suggested.

        • Ho Tep

          It’s not much of a price to pay to stop Joe Johnson.

          • Jdbar14

            Or, if not stop him, at least slow him down without doubling and throwing the rest of the defensive scheme into chaos

      • Yeah, I’m not taking away anything from Wes or Xavier as they can still be decent bench players in the right system… I just feel that if they can keep JJ doing what he’s brought here for, he can be an impact player. He’s a bit of a wildcard, but plays with toughness and swagger. It’s now on Casey, and to some extent Lowry, Amir and DeMar to keep him focused on grabbing boards, playing tough D, and playing within himself.

  • Ds

    Good signing… It’s cheap enough and adds a 18.5 PER to the lineup (if you consider replacement value player is around 11 or 12 PER). He shot well (TS .552 last year) and we all know he can defend. Can’t see any negatives.

    • hotshot

      JJ is not a great rebounder for his height, terrible shooter and ended up having a terrible playoffs that he was mostly benched in favor of Tyshaun Prince.JJ will be only used in situational matchups where a big forward like Joe Johnson (also JJ Lol) can cause problems like he did in the playoffs. This is again a cheap insurance like Lou Williams and I wouldn’t be surprised if him and Lou will be packaged with other players or picks before the tradedeadline for someone with greater impact. I am sure JJ has it in him to be solid contributor like Patpat but he really has to give 110% out there and avoid stupid decisions that plagued him throughout his career.

  • John

    So the depth chart now is this:

    PG: Lowry/Vasquez
    SG: Derozan/Williams
    SF: Ross/Fields/JJohnson/Cabocolo
    PF: AJohnson/Patterson/Hanborough
    C: Valanciunas/Hayes/Noguera

    If i am not mistaken that leaves an open roster spot (with Buycks as the odd man out). Could we be auditioning 3rd string PGs in summer league (Buycks, Machado, Kybongo)? I feel that that is what is happening. I get this sense that unless Masai is going to pull another trade, he is not likely to sign another free agent and leave the roster spot open to a summer league standout.

    I could be wrong though.

    • Trini

      You got the depth chart right, except JJ will definitely be ahead of Fields off the bench.

    • If you shift it to more their natural positions:

      PG: Lowry/Vasquez/Williams
      SG: DeRozan/Ross
      SF: JJohnson/Fields/Caboclo/Daniels
      PF: AJohnson/Patterson/Hansbrough
      C: Valanciunas/Hayes/Noguiera

      But unless JJ really excels, the in-practice depth chart is probably exactly what you’re saying except with Johnson ahead of Fields, sliding Ross and Williams each over one spot to make up for the weaker SF spot.

      I also added Daniels who will pretty safely be in the D-League but possibly under contract and so available for call-up in case of injuries. That would be the full 15, with the 3 likely to be inactive in Europe or D-League being Daniels, Caboclo, and Noguiera. If they don’t sign one of the rookies yet (at least Daniels likely), they would have room for another cheap player within the rest of the MLE or with the BAE, but I’m not sure how much of an upgrade that would get them. Leaving that spot open could not only be used for a Summer League standout or another free agent but also gives more flexibility with trades (taking back 2 for 1 or 3 for 2).

      I agree: barring trades I think this is basically the line-up for the start of the year and it’s not a bad line-up at all 🙂

      • John

        That certainly is another likely depth chart as well. Its great to see that Masai has provided enough capable players now for Casey to have options. We are definitely better now than we were at the end of this past season which is all we can really ask for. I love how the team is building for something special. Masai is rightfully relying on internal development but also aware of the pieces that we were lacking last season. I could see (health permitting) a potential 60 win team in the making

        • keith

          eh……..I hope for 50+ at the least. If it wasn’t for the slow start with Rudy, we could have gotten to 50, but I think 60 might be a bit high for now. I do think 55 is attainable and would win the division again.

        • I don’t see 60, even in a couple of years of development. I do see being the favourites for the division bumping up to something like 52 as a real possibility, though. Better, definitely, but not in the contender range of 55+, at least not yet.

          • John

            Ok maybe 60 is a best case scenario. Considering how many games this team blew last year and the horrible start, I figured the could manage 12 more wins since they are likely to be much much better, but yeah, 52-55 is more realistic and more likely.

            • JunkYardDog

              Did you also factor in how bad the east was last season ?

      • S

        Apparently a buyout is being worked on for Noguiera, so they’ll probably keep looking for a C

        • 2damkule

          the buyout they’re talking about is to release him from his euro team, so he can sign with the raps…he doesn’t have an NBA contract to be bought out, so the intent here is to bring him over. though, he’s raw, so your point about them continuing to look for a back-up C is probably true, it’s just that one isn’t related to the other.

          • S

            You’re right! My bad.

      • CashGameND

        Everything I’ve heard and read is Daniels won’t be on roster this year. Cobaclo and big nog will

  • Rap fan 2

    I liked James Johnson game when he was last in Toronto. He played with grit and toughness. His main problem was maybe not sticking to the teams game plan on the offensive end sometimes. Apparently he had some issues with the coach at the time possibly because of this. Anyways, he’s worked himself back into the league and played fairly well in the defensive grinding style of the Memphis Grizzlies so I think he’s going fit in well with the Raptors. I think he moves to the top in terms of the big three depth chart. It’s going to be interesting to see who starts on the wing along with Demar. The Raptors are going to be more talented and have more depth going into the new season both from the new additions and from internal growth and development. It’s going to be an exciting season.

    • BigDickKaman

      pretty sure casey was the one coaching him those 2 years, if he really had coaching problems with casey then this signing is a risk.

      • hotshot

        I’m sure Casey had a discussion with Masai about JJ and he wouldn’t have signed him if the coach thought he would cause a problem. Beside ‘s Masai will have his Jedi Obi-one discussion with JJ like he did with Lowry last season and JJ will see the light.

        • Mexiballer

          Agreed and exactly. If JJ steps out of line he will be stepped on firmly and reminded where the door is, as well as the end of the bench. The guy can play if he ever decides to get his shit together. Great signing.

      • Rap fan 2

        Yeah, I think he spent first year with Jay Triano and season two with Coach Casey. I’m also thinking that through the difficult times he’s experienced he has learned what it takes to stay in the league now. He’s got a second chance to prove he belongs and excel.

      • tweed8

        Agreed. There is no way JJ is back without Masai talking to him. When players talk about, Masai, I think it’s pretty clear there is a side to him we never see on tv. A very “listen to me now, understand me now” side. JJ also wouldn’t be back if he didn’t like it here in the first place.

        If I ever hear or read the words Ed Davis is coming back though. That day will be like Christmas. Watching Ed and Amir work together on the court was beautiful.

        • tonious35

          That would be Masai’s WARLORD/LORD-OF-WAR side…

    • James Slim

      His last year was at Toronto was Dwane Casey’s first. I remember from being at a game against Portland, when I was on holiday in Toronto for the first time, where he scored 22 and I thought he was very good.

  • Bursh

    Both years are fully guaranteed, no options.

    • keith

      if so, that kind of sucks. It would have been an even bigger deal to have his contract with no guarantee as a trade asset. Like Salmons this year.

      although I have also liked JJ a lot. If he just stays consistent and stops taking heat check 3’s, I think he would be excellent to keep both years.

      • Options or non-guaranteeds are always better, of course, but we’re talking about $2.5 million (assuming even distribution of the years, which probably isn’t quite the case). In that low range, there wouldn’t have been big possibilities anyway. Salmons was $7 million – a midlevel contract – which is a big difference from $2.5 million.

  • keith

    Cheapest option for the need and fit. I like it. I don’t think he will come in and turn this team into a complete contender, but the minutes he will give off the bench will be equal to Salmons and way better than anything Fields would provide. In fact, he is Fields 2.0.

    Obviously we have some veteran depth at each position and a few of them we have a future talent to develop. I know Ross will start but I kind of like the idea that many times he will slide to the 2 and JJ or Coboclu will step in at the 3 (of course if and when Coboclu is ready). Heck of a lot better than last year’s situation. It won’t be a huge move yet but at some point late it could be an awesome move.

    I am still hoping for another body at center. Jonas will be the main minutes taker there and I do like the prospects of Noguera, but the reality that the only experienced backup behind Jonas is Hayes concerns the hell out of me. Especially if there is a possible injury. This could be a team that has a starting center at 6’6” at some point. That scares me. Amir could move over, true, but I think we can find an Aaron Gray on the cheap to fill that last spot. Another PG would be helpful too but having Lowry and Vasquez, I feel more comfortable there than at center.

    and again, Masai gets another expiring contract with no guarantee for the next year to use on a spectacular trade. JJ might be a bust this year or might have limited help to the team, but he is another asset for Masai to pocket.

    • KickPuncher

      I’ve got high expectations for Noguera. I think he’s the low-post threat we’ve been needing. For a 7 footer, JV is a horrible shot blocker. We’re still fairly weak at C considering Amir’s injury concerns and tendency to get into foul trouble.

      • Trini

        JV is a low post threat already. What Nogueira brings in terms of rim protection (which is completely unproven against NBA competition) doesn’t come close to what JV brings as an overall player. Will Solomon tore it up in Europe, just keep that kinda stuff in mind.

      • Benjamin

        “low-post threat” I think you mean rim defender. Nogueira’s offence can’t even be compared to JV’s, so he’ll need to get the job done on the other end.

        • KickPuncher

          Yea, that’s what I meant to say.

  • hotshot

    This also means that Vince ain’t coming back, which is a good thing IMO.

    • keith

      if Vince came for this price, I would take him. But not for what it would have cost. I like Vince and think he can still be a productive player on a good team. He won’t lead a team anywhere, but as a role player he would be very helpful.

      I understand the feelings towards him but if he helps, then he is a valuable player. Plus I don’t think he has the same ego as he did back in the day. He should see now that its not easy to win a title, no matter what team you go and try to play for. Nothing is guaranteed. So I think he would be a good pickup, but not for the ridiculous contracts that are being thrown around now. JJ was at the right price IMO.


    If its true then that fills up our hole for sf and gives us a BACK UP pf. I don’t know of his personal life so no comment I have a cousin wrongfully accused right now of domestic abuse so my stance right now is innocent till proven guilty.

    • CashGameND

      Pretty sure he’s “proven” innocent cause his wife didn’t show up to the court date. So who knows what really happened.

  • Raptogram

    Has he finally realized he’s not Kobe in his prime?

  • Niagara_dude

    I like the signing because now we someone who can guard a Joe Johnson or Lebron James, maybe not shut them down but control them.This was the Raptors biggest weakest, and we lost the series against the Nets because of it.Good price good signing

  • c_bcm

    I am totally OK with this. I understand the maturity issues. But I am confident that can and will be worked out.

  • bizzy
  • oldmanwizard

    Love this move.. At 2.5 mil/year he’s a bargain. He was amazing for Memphis last year, especially while Marc Gasol was hurt. Zack Randolph was praising him as the year went on.

  • Giovanni Palandra

    Call me old fashioned but I’m a little concerned bringing back a guy who clashed with our head coach in the past and is accused of striking his wife in the face and choking her. I’m not sure thats the personality I want in my change room.

    • JunkYardDog

      Cry me a river , we could use some toughness in the locker room. He plead not guilty on the charges and obviously they wouldn’t have signed him before speaking to both Casey and JJ about it , so clearly they are both fine with the idea. Besides, he’s a really nice guy if you ever heard his press conferences and he stands up for his teammates on the court. He can be our new Charles Oakley. If you’re scared he might attack you in the stands, watch from home.

      • Giovanni Palandra

        Oh yes I’m so scared. I wonder if you would share such a carefree attitude if that were your mother or sister who were being abused? If you call that the kind of “toughness we could use in the locker room” then you’re an idiot.

        Also i had to laugh when you said “besides he’s a really nice guy if you ever heard his press conferences”. Seriously? So his actions off the court should be excused because he says some nice things about his teammates on camera? Wow! I guess I’m not surprised that someone like you isn’t wiling to post their real name.

        • JunkYardDog

          Like I said , he plead not guilty. Females that are married to rich athletes make up charges all the time so that they can make money. Also , apparently she dropped the charges , so there goes your entire theory.

          And he does bring toughness to the team. I watched most of his games as a Raptors and he was probably the only guy that stood up for his teammates when someone fouled them hard.

        • Steverino

          It’s not a sure thing he did what he was arrested for. There were no marks on his wife, they both had been drinking, he plead not guilty, and it’s been dismissed. Gotta go with the evidence, or lack thereof. I’m not just washing this under the bridge, making excuses for the guy. But an accusation isn’t the same thing as a verdict. Yes, I wouldn’t want my wife or mother being abused. But by the same token, I’d hope that if you were ever accused of something you didn’t do that people would give you the benefit of the doubt until the evidence was weighed.

        • Guest

          Nice personal attack on a poster.

          Since you want to make things personal, how would you like it if someone refused to employ you based on allegations that were not proven?

          It must be nice to be able to see so far from your all-knowing moral high ground. But then again, looking at some of your other posts in the past, you appear to be really quick to judge other people. So I guess your comments on James Johnson and JYD make sense.

          • Peter

            Well aren’t you the internet tough guy. At least he has the courage to stand behind what he says. I laugh when I see people with the name “guest” getting all brave and calling others out.

            • Guest

              Nice condescending post, “Peter”. You must be part of the “let’s talk down to others” support group.

              At least you can see my posting history. The same can’t be said for you.

  • Lets Play

    Lets Bring Back Sonny!!!

    • katmore9


  • Kujo2020

    I’m not sure if I can deal with James Johnson on this roster again. Dude was inconsistent as hell. We couldn’t have done better? Really?

    • 2damkule

      have you paid attention to him since he left the raps? have a look at what he’s done over the last couple years against what some of the other guys who’ve been mentioned as possible signings have done (bearing in mind what he actually signed for, and what bigger ‘name’ players would likely command), and you might think differently.

    • John

      James Johnson is the perfect signing based on the team needs, contract terms, player quality and upside potential. He gives the team the athletic large wing defender who rebounds well and crashes the offensive board who has a small chip on his shoulder and the desire to prove his worth. He a lower risk player now than most people think and the rewards will be fun to watch

  • tonious35

    BLACKBELT Johnson is BACK! I guess all is forgiven between JJohnson and Casey?

    • katmore9

      Coaches have to have short memories.

  • IceManLikeGervin

    How long before he’s back in Casey’s dog house?

  • Truth Teller

    He would’ve been useful vs. Joe Johnson in the playoffs.

  • tonious35

    Here’s what makes this acquisition efficient: For only 2.5 Million, we get a “potential” Joe Johnson Stopper. Unlike BC trading away Hibbert and TJ Ford to get 20 Million dollars of JO to only stop Dwight Howard and screw up the entire team for the next 5 years.

  • bizzy

    Looks like the suns got tucker for 16.5 million for 3 so it looks like the raps would have had to give up something big to get him.

  • Yoshi