The Rockets have signed former University of Memphis shooting guard Geron Johnson and waived power forward Akil Mitchell, the team announced via press release. The terms of the deal for Johnson aren’t immediately clear, but it’s probably a minimum-salary arrangement, perhaps with a nominal guarantee. Houston will be stuck with the $150K partial guarantee on Mitchell’s contract unless another team claims him off waivers.
Johnson went undrafted this past June, but he’s been on Houston’s radar for a while. The Rockets were among the teams that worked him out prior to the draft, and he joined Houston’s summer league team in July. The now 22-year-old Johnson averaged just 8.9 points in 27.9 minutes per game as a senior with the Memphis Tigers last season, but he grabbed 4.9 rebounds per contest even though he’s only 6’3″.
Mitchell also went undrafted this summer and scored his deal with the Rockets shortly before training camp began. Still, he didn’t play in any of the team’s preseason games and a report last week indicated he hadn’t been with the Rockets for several days.
Houston still has 20 players on its roster, and with 15 fully guaranteed contracts plus a non-guaranteed pact with starting point guard Patrick Beverley, the Rockets have a logjam they must resolve by Monday’s deadline for teams to set their opening-night rosters. Johnson seems unlikely to remain with the team into the regular season, so it appears the Rockets are signing him chiefly to be able to claim his D-League rights, though that’s just my speculation.