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#pounditSaturday, May 18, 2024

James Johnson sent home from Heat camp for failing to meet target weight

The Miami Heat have the strictest fitness regimen in the NBA, and forward James Johnson experienced that firsthand this week.

The team announced on Tuesday that the veteran would miss the beginning of training camp for failing to meet their conditioning requirements. On Friday, Johnson’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, clarified that the absence was due to Johnson not reaching the weight goal set by Heat president Pat Riley.

“[James] did not fail the conditioning test,” said Bartelstein, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “He passed the conditioning test with flying colors. He was a plus 4 in how he passed the test. The only issue is Pat feels very strongly that there is a certain weight level where J.J. performs best.

“The Heat are strong proponents of weight and body fat,” Bartelstein added. “They put a lot of time and effort into trying to figure out what is the absolute optimal level for players to perform. Even though he passed the conditioning test, and James feels like he’s in really good shape, Pat thinks there’s a level he wants him at, and he wasn’t there and he wanted him to focus on getting that taken care of, which is what James is doing.”

The 32-year-old Johnson, who is listed at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, averaged 7.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season. Though he has missed all four days of training camp thus far, he has not been fined or suspended by the Heat, Jackson adds.

Riley is particularly known for his drill sergeant-like approach with players, so it’s no surprise to see him demand accountability until expectations are met.

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