While the majority of NBA executives are holding off on movement until December 15th, when most of the free agents signed this summer can be traded, there's plenty going on overseas. We'll round up the latest here.
Orlando had been carrying 16 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so the team needed to trade or waive at least one player who was owed guaranteed money. As such, it's not a huge shock that the Magic dropped Eyenga, who sat out the team's preseason games with a hamstring injury. The 23-year-old, a former first-round pick, was acquired as part of the Dwight Howard trade, and had a $2.12MM option for 2013/14, which it seems won't be exercised. His $1.17MM 2012/13 salary will count against the Magic's cap, however, unless he's claimed on waivers.
With Eyenga and Johnson off the roster, the Magic will need to make three additional cuts to reach the regular-season maximum of 15 players. DeQuan Jones and Chris Johnson also have non-guaranteed deals, making them candidates to be released. E'Twaun Moore's contract is mostly non-guaranteed as well, with just a $90K buyout.
SEPTEMBER 29: The Magic confirmed the signings via press release.
SEPTEMBER 19: The Magic expect to sign Armon Johnson and DeQuan Jones to contracts, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter). The additions, if and when they become official, would brings Orlando's roster to a total of 19 players.
Johnson, 23, was said to be seeking an NBA roster spot earlier this summer. He'll likely be on a non-guaranteed deal with the Magic and will face an uphill battle earning a spot on the roster, but given the team's lack of point guard depth, he should get a long look in training camp. The 6'3" guard has appeared in 47 games with the Trail Blazers and Nets over the last two seasons after being drafted 34th overall in 2010.
Jones, a 6'8" forward, was part of the Magic's summer league roster in Orlando this summer, averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in four games. The 22-year-old went undrafted in June out of the University of Miami, where he played just 17.3 minutes per contest in his senior year.
Armon Johnson is currently running a youth basketball camp in Reno, Nevada, but will soon turn his attention to securing an NBA contract, as Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal writes. Johnson tells Murray that he expects to receive a training camp invitation and is confident he'll earn a spot on an NBA roster.
"I’ve been talking to some teams," Johnson said. "Right now, talk is just talk. I don’t want to mention the teams and put rumors out there, but when the time comes, I’ll be ready. I’m very confident I’ll be with a team next year. I’m working my butt off in the gym to be ready for camp, and I’m going to take advantage of whatever opportunity I get."
The 34th overall pick in the 2010 draft was waived by the Trail Blazers last year in order to clear a roster spot for Joel Przybilla. Johnson finished the season with the Nets, and is now an unrestricted free agent. At age 23, Johnson is likely to receive a shot from a team intrigued by his youth and athleticism, but the Nevada product isn't taking anything for granted.
"I took from last season that the NBA is a business and you just have to cherish every moment that you have," Johnson said. "You never know what can happen and life has its ups and downs and every moment in your life you just have to cherish as a whole."
Johnson is one of a number of free agent point guards still on the market, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.
It may not be many more days until our long national Dwightmare is over. Yesterday's reports on Howard suggested talks involving the Magic, Nets, and Cavaliers were getting serious, and that Orlando plans to make "one last sweep" around the league before deciding whether to accept the Nets' offer. While we wait to see if anything is agreed upon today, here are the latest rumblings on the Howard front:
The Nets have re-signed Armon Johnson for the rest of the season following the expiration of his 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release.
After appearing in just a single game for the Blazers earlier this season, Johnson was waived to clear a spot on the roster for Joel Przybilla. The 23-year-old guard has received a shot at more playing time with the Nets, averaging 4.4 PPG on 58.8% shooting in five contests (8.8 MPG).
As our 10-day contract tracker shows, Johnson joins Gerald Green as the only other Net to be signed to a rest-of-season deal following a 10-day contract this year. New Jersey has signed a total of five players to at least one 10-day deal.
In a team statement, the Nets announced they have signed guard Armon Johnson to a 10-day contract (Twitter link). The move was likely made to help replace Jordan Farmar, who will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury. The 6'3" Johnson has played just five minutes this season with the Trail Blazers.
No trades have been agreed upon yet, but with less than 48 hours remaining until Thursday's trade deadline, it shouldn't be long before we see our first deadline deal of 2012. In the meantime, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
A pair of Northwest teams are on the road tonight to open the second half -- the Jazz play the Kings in Sacramento, while the Timberwolves head to the Staples Center to face the Clippers. As we wait for the season to resume following the All-Star break, let's check in on some updates out of the Northwest Division....
The Trail Blazers have waived Armon Johnson, the team announced today (hat tip to Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge). The move clears a spot on the roster for Joel Przybilla, who passed a physical yesterday and should officially join the Blazers today.
Portland was said to be deciding between waiving Johnson or Greg Oden, who is out for the year after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee. As Jason Quick of the Oregonian points out (via Twitter), the Blazers may believe another team will claim Johnson on waivers, freeing Portland of his salary.
Johnson, who turned 23 last Thursday, only appeared in one game this season for the Blazers after playing in 38 a season ago. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link) believes that Johnson's youth and athleticism will attract interest, and wonders if the Lakers could make a play for the 6'3" guard. According to Golliver, the Blazers "aggressively shopped" Johnson last month, seeking a second-round pick, but didn't find a taker (Twitter link). If he's not claimed on waivers, Johnson would become a free agent later this week.