After a very warm welcome from Toronto Raptors fan base to Amir Johnson on January 20th, he was remembered as one of the fan favourites and one of the best Raptor power forwards to play in the jersey. Since the Raptors have a glaring hole defensively in their lineup at power forward, the team should consider signing Amir again this summer.
Amir Johnson was all about giving. He routinely gave back to the community, he gave us everything he had on the court, and he gave us a lot of memories. Now should those memories remain so, or should we look for an Amir re-run? Amir’s contract is non-guaranteed for 2016-17 at $12 million and the Celtics could release him to save money if they are in the hunt for a big free-agent signing.
During Amir’s time in a Raptors uniform, he was the best defender and the hardest working player on the court. During his 5 years in Toronto, he is ranked 3rd in the franchise for value over a replacement player, only behind Vince Carter and Chris Bosh, and a nudge above Kyle Lowry.
In the summer, he was expected to leave as his body was deteriorating and wasn’t the same player. At the time, we assumed Patrick Patterson was ready to take the reigns of PF from Amir and flourish with his outside attack and quick defensive feet. 2-Pat has since lost his consistency on offence and now Luis Scola is relied on for his old man tricks to hold down the fort.
I would argue that Amir’s presence would bolster the team’s post and help defence and his offensive knack for being at the right place at the right time is always welcome. He has extended his range in recent years but will never really stretch out a defence. Amir’s price tag this time around will be heftier than the platoon power forwards we have now, but a rising salary cap and a mandate to win now should open an opportunity to bring him back to the organization who bred him into the player he is today.
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A bench role would be best for Amir with a truly dynamic power forward to start. Amir plays the center position beautifully in small ball line ups and won’t back down to anyone. If the Raptors can get a long term contract at an affordable price for the big man, I say do it. The Raptors fan base would be overjoyed and the team would plug a giant hole in the line up.