The Miami Heat had been holding forward James Johnson out of action with the club until he met specific conditioning requirements. Four games into the season, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the 32-year-old has met them.
Johnson will travel with the team for their upcoming game against the Hawks on Thursday, although it’s not immediately clear if he’ll play.
The Heat, displeased with Johnson’s conditioning level when training camp began, put Johnson on the inactive list at the start of the regular season. He didn’t suit up for the team’s final three preseason games and hasn’t since.
“It’s been tough for me,” Johnson told Winderman prior to the season opener. “But it’s a position I put myself in and I’m going to get myself out, like always. It’s just an eye-opener. You can never get comfortable in this league and I knew that.“
In peak physical conditioning, Johnson is one of many competent rotation pieces capable of helping the scrappy Heat franchise compete consistently year after year.
Given the dip in Johnson’s production in 2018-19 versus years prior, it stands to reason that the team would be insistent on getting the most out of their veteran forward.
Johnson will earn $15.3 million this season and has a player option worth $16.0 for 2020-21.