As Murphy outlines, Ellenson will sign a two-year, minimum-salary contract with a $50K partial guarantee on year one. Details aren’t provided for Watanabe’s deal or Johnson’s, but the safe bet would be a pair of Exhibit 10 contracts, which are essentially non-guaranteed one-year deals.
All three players will have an uphill battle to earn a spot on the regular season roster, though the 15th spot could be up for grabs if the Raptors don’t sign second-round pick Jalen Harris to a standard contract, promote two-way player Paul Watson, or retain two-way RFA Oshae Brissett.
The 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Ellenson has bounced around from Detroit to New York to Brooklyn since entering the league, appearing in just 81 total games over four seasons. The former Marquette standout, who is still just 23 years old, started last season on a two-way contract with the Nets but was waived in January.
Watanabe, one of just two Japanese-born players currently in the league, spent the last two seasons on a two-way contract with the Grizzlies. The 26-year-old didn’t see much playing time at the NBA level, but was solid in the G League, averaging 17.2 PPG and 6.0 RPG on .546/.364/.816 shooting in 22 games for the Memphis Hustle in 2019/20.
Johnson was the 50th overall pick in the 2018 draft and has spent his first two professional seasons under contract with the Pacers. The 24-year-old logged just 182 total minutes in 31 games at the NBA level over those two years, but posted big numbers for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League, with 19.5 PPG, 13.4 RPG, and 3.7 APG on .514/.363/.699 shooting in 50 career NBAGL contests. The Pacers didn’t tender him a qualifying offer last week, so he entered the market as an unrestricted free agent.
The moves will take the Raptors’ unofficial roster count to 19, not including Brissett.