Miami Heat team president Pat Riley has recently shed some light on the suspension handed out to veteran forward James Johnson after the 32-year-old reported back to training camp overweight.
According to Riley, Johnson left him with very little choice, and that he does not regret sending home the 6-foot-8 forward under the condition that he returns once he is able to meet a certain weight.
“It’s just something that had to be done. Now he realizes it, and I realize it,” Riley said Monday evening, via Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.
There appears to be no ill will between Riley and Johnson, and it seems that the latter was willing to accept the sanction issued to him for reporting back to camp out of shape.
Riley went on to explain that he does not expect this to have any long-term negative effect on the team and on Johnson himself, also noting that at this point, Johnson is already well on his way to getting back in shape.
“It’s not going to take away from the team and it’s not going to take away from him once he reaches those conditioning requirements,” Riley added. “He’s already almost there again. So I think in very short notice, I’m going to turn this over to Erik [Spoelstra]. And it’s between Erik and him now.”
This will be an important season for Johnson, who now only has two more years remaining on his current deal. He will have a player option for the 2020-21 season, so it will be very interesting to see how this season plays out for the feisty veteran.