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Prior to their 99-89 home win over Sacramento on Friday, the Celtics officially signed 23-year-old swingman Chris Johnson to a multi-year deal, the terms of which were not disclosed per team policy. The 6’6″ Johnson had been with Boston on two ten-day contracts, which is the most a team can sign a player for before deciding whether to keep him until the end of the season.
Johnson played his college ball at Dayton, and led the Flyers to the NIT championship in 2010 as a sophomore, when he was named tournament MVP. He went undrafted in 2012 and eventually joined the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who he helped to the League championship as a rookie. He spent two ten-day stints with the Grizzlies in 2012-13, but played an average of just 12.8 minutes in eight games and was not extended.
In 20 games with the first-place Vipers this season, Johnson averaged 19.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals, earning a D-League All-Star nod. He made his Celtics debut in a January 21 loss at Miami and has since appeared in nine games, to the tune of 7.3 points and 2.6 boards in 21.4 minutes per game. His best game was on January 26 against Brooklyn, when he went 4-for-6 from the floor for 12 points with four rebounds. Two days later he shot 4-for-7 from downtown in a blowout loss at New York for another 12 points, but didn’t even attempt any two-point shots.
Johnson’s playing time has dropped off somewhat of late as the Celtics’ backcourt has become more crowded with the return of Rajon Rondo, but Brad Stevens’s flexible rotation means that Johnson will surely get chances to show his worth before the end of the season.