6:55pm: Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News says that Johnson-Odom has signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $500K to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association.
9:49am: The timing of the Lakers’ decision to release Darius Johnson-Odom may have initially seemed odd, considering the club is still in China, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. However, according to Bresnahan, the Lakers made the move when they did to allow Johnson-Odom to sign with a Chinese team. While it’s not clear yet which club Johnson-Odom will join, he has agreed to terms on a contract worth about $400K, reports Bresnahan.
Johnson-Odom, 24, appeared for just four games for the Lakers last season after being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. Following his release in January, the former Marquette guard signed with Spartak St. Petersburg in Russia, so he has some experience playing internationally.
According to Bresnahan, Johnson-Odom had been weighing the offer from the unknown Chinese team for about a week, and decided to sign it when the Lakers “strongly suggested” he wouldn’t earn a spot on their regular-season roster.
According to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, the Lakers have waived Darius Johnson-Odom. The 24-year-old appeared in four games for the team last season, and was waived in January, before being re-signed last month.
Los Angeles Times writer Eric Pincus tweets the belief that Johnson-Odom will find professional work soon enough, either in the NBA or China, where the Lakers are currently visiting on a preseason trip.
The Lakers have signed both Eric Boateng and Darius Johnson-Odom to their training camp roster, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. Pincus adds that these moves were camp invites, implying the deals didn't involve any sort of guarantee, but there's been no official word on the contract specifications as of yet. Both players were previously linked to the Lakers in a report earlier today.
Boateng has bounced around between Europe and the D-League since going undrafted in 2010 out of Arizona State. He has never made an NBA roster despite coming close with the Nuggets heading into the 2010/11 campaign. Johnson-Odom is a bit more experienced, but not by much. He played in four games for the Lakers last year, spending most of his time with the D-Fenders, their D-League affiliate, where he led them in scoring at 20.6 PPG.
The Lakers training camp roster now stands at 18, but Pincus tweets that general manager Mitch Kupchak suggested that the team may go with 19 or 20 because of injuries and also to limit minutes for their veterans.
As we heard over the weekend, the Lakers have yet to start negotiating a contract extension with Kobe Bryant, which is hardly a surprise, given the new CBA. Veteran extensions have become virtually non-existent since the lockout, and given the uncertainty relating to Kobe's recovery from Achilles surgery, there's no reason for either side to rush into contract discussions.
Here's more on the Lakers:
- Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (via Twitter) that she has heard Darius Johnson-Odom and Eric Boateng mentioned as possible camp invitees for the Lakers. However, nothing has been finalized yet.
- Gilbert Arenas and Kareem Rush have also been spotted working out recently at the Lakers facility, according to Shelburne, but she says not to read too much into that (Twitter link).
- Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss have been the ones making headlines lately, but their younger brother Jesse Buss is also involved with the team, and spoke to Laker Nation about his role with the NBA team and its D-League affiliate. Among other topics, Buss addressed the challenge of scouting for a franchise that always has a win-now mentality, and discussed the outlooks for rookies Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris.
Just as international standouts like Gigi Datome, Vitor Faverani and Pero Antic have signed in the NBA this summer, several players who spent last season in the NBA will wind up overseas. We have the latest on a few more who could join them, and a rare player who turned down the chance at NBA stardom:
- A day after it seemed like Olimpia Milano of Italy would go after Shelvin Mack, the club has shifted its focus to A.J. Price, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport (translation via Sportando's Emiliano Carchia). Price, a free agent following his one-year deal with the Wizards last season, is more readily available than Mack, who wants to stay in the NBA even if his non-guaranteed contract with the Hawks doesn't last.
- Mens Sana, another Italian team, is targeting Darius Johnson-Odom, according to Carchia. The Lakers took Johnson-Odom with the 55th pick in the 2012 draft, and he appeared in four games with the purple-and-gold last season, mixed in with stints in the D-League and in Russia with Spartak St. Petersburg.
- Milos Teodosic reportedly turned down an offer from the Grizzlies last month, preferring to pursue the chance to stay in Russia, and CSKA Moscow confirmed on the team website today that he will remain with them (Carchia again with the translation).
Former Lakers guard Darius Johnson-Odom has signed to play for the Russian club Spartak St. Petersburg, Sportando's Emiliano Carchia reports. The deal covers the rest of this season and includes an option for 2013/14, though it's unclear whether that's a player or team option.
The Lakers waived Johnson-Odom earlier this month after making him the 55th pick in the draft this past June. He appeared in only four NBA games and failed to score a point in six total minutes. He saw more extensive action with the Lakers' D-League affiliate, notching 20.6 points, 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game in 12 contests with the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Tbe 6'3" product of Marquette replaces Patrick Beverley, who left Spartak to sign with the Rockets. Coincidentally, Beverley finalized his deal with Houston the same day the Lakers let go of Johnson-Odom.
The Lakers have waived Darius Johnson-Odom, the team announced today in a press release. Johnson-Odom was one of two Lakers on non-guaranteed deals, along with Robert Sacre. Given the injury woes plaguing the team's frontcourt, Sacre's job appears safe.
Johnson-Odom, 23, was drafted 55th overall in last June's draft, with a pick L.A. acquired from the Mavericks in exchange for cash. The Marquette product didn't see much action for the Lakers, failing to score his first NBA point in four games (six total minutes).
The move opens up a roster spot for the Lakers, which may be useful — with Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill all ailing, the club could decide to bring in a big man on a 10-day contract. For now though, the move is just about today's guarantee deadline, rather than clearing a spot for another player, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Tomorrow at 5PM EST marks a significant deadline in the NBA, as players who are currently on non-guaranteed contracts kept after that point will have their deals guaranteed for the rest of the season. While the official deadline for contracts to become fully guaranteed is listed as January 10, ESPN's Marc Stein pointed out yesterday that teams who decide to release a player on a non-guaranteed contract will have to do so by tomorrow in order for them to clear waivers by Thursday. We've seen quite a handful of teams release some of their non-guaranteed pacts today, and with less than 24 hours left to go, there could be more of those types of transactions to come. With that in mind, you can find tonight's miscellaneous links from around the NBA here:
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune talks about the need for Minnesota's Derrick Williams to step up and contribute with Kevin Love sidelined by a hand injury.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas notes Dirk Nowitzki's feelings of uncertainty with the direction of the Mavericks' franchise and expressed thoughts on whether or not he should be traded. After acknowledging the team's failed attempt of luring Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, Nowitzki didn't seem too enthused about Dallas' chances of adding a marquee name of that caliber in the near future.
- HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler thinks that Lakers' rookies Robert Sacre and Darius Johnson-Odom could be the next in line to be waived in order to avoid paying more luxury tax on their deals. He also thinks that Johnson-Odom would be more likely to be released than Sacre (Twitter links).
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post wrote that tonight's matchup with the Heat and tomorrow's game against the Thunder are critical for Wizards guards Garrett Temple and Shelvin Mack, who are both currently on non-guaranteed contracts.
- During an interview on NBC's Chris Mannix Show, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports said that there is a very good chance that the Grizzlies move Rudy Gay or one of their high-salaried contracts by the February trade deadline. Also, he does not believe Royce White will ever play in the NBA (Twitter links).
- Mark Deeks of ShamSports tweets that it's not unusual for teams to waive a player before their contract becomes guaranteed before subsequently re-signing him for the rest of the season.
- After last night's win at the Target Center, Trail Blazers swingman Nicolas Batum admitted that he drew some motivation from wanting to prove to the Timberwolves and their fans that he was worth the offer sheet that Minnesota presented to him last summer (Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports).
The Lakers have re-assigned Darius Johnson-Odom to their D-League affiliate, the D-Fenders (according to a tweet from Mike Trudell of Lakers.com). The 6'2 guard has only appeared in four games and played a total of six minutes thus far. Trudell adds that with no limit on how many times a player can be sent or recalled from the development league, the Lakers may often consider this option.
This will be the second time since November 10th that Johnson-Odom has been sent to the NBDL, and it could certainly provide him with an opportunity to continue developing with ample playing time. During a pre-season game between the D-Fenders and the Bakersfield Jam just over a week ago, Johnson-Odom tallied 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in 39 minutes of play.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles (via Twitter) reports that the Lakers have assigned Darius Johnson-Odom to the D-Fenders, their D-League affiliate. The rookie guard has only appeared in one game through the team's first five contests, making a one minute appearance during last night's win against Golden State.