WALTHAM — With the Celtics planning to sign Chris Johnson for the remainder of the season, the former NBA Development League swingman no longer has to worry about what he’ll do after his second 10-day contract with the team expires Thursday night.
Instead, Johnson, who was playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers before the Celtics called him up in January, can just focus on the next game, which comes Friday when the Celtics play Sacramento at TD Garden.
But Johnson was still beaming before practice Thursday, still thrilled with the news that the team was planning to keep him.
“I just have to give thanks to Danny Ainge for bringing me in and giving me the opportunity, Brad Stevens for giving me the opportunity to play when guys were injured, and my teammates for just giving me confidence,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that reality hadn’t set in because the deal had yet to be finalized. But when he heard that a deal was close, he said he called his mom — “She was pretty excited” — and his agent.
It’s by no accident that the Celtics are keeping Johnson on board. He averaged 7.6 points over eight games.
“It’s a great story, but it’s not like it’s some miracle,” said Stevens, the Celtics head coach. “It’s the result of hard work, doing the right things, not being scared of the moment, taking advantage of opportunities, those type of things.”
Johnson also received plenty of support from his teammates, many of whom campaigned for the Celtics to sign him through the rest of the year versus letting him go.
“That says a lot,” Johnson said. “That shows the confidence they have in me. I really appreciate that coming from those guys. Being here for the rest of the season, I’m trying to help the guys win.”