JANUARY 6: Johnson’s 10-day contract is official, the Lakers announced (via Twitter)
JANUARY 5: Forward Stanley Johnson is likely to sign a 10-day deal with the Lakers on Thursday, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN (via Twitter). Johnson’s 10-day hardship deal with the Lakers expired on Monday, and he made a strong impression on the club with his on-ball defense and toughness, says McMenamin.
The 25-year-old Johnson averaged 6.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.4 APG in five games (three starts) with Los Angeles. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, there’s no difference in salary between signing Johnson to a couple of 10-day deals and then signing him to a contract that covers the rest of the season at the end of January vs. signing him to a rest-of-season deal on Thursday, so the move is all about maintaining roster flexibility ahead of the trade deadline on February 10.
Johnson, a Los Angeles native, signed with the Bulls on a 10-day hardship deal last month but never suited up for the team after entering the league’s health and safety protocols. He spent training camp and preseason with Chicago, but was released prior to the season. He had been playing with the Lakers’ G League squad, South Bay, prior to being called up to the NBA. In six games with South Bay this season (30.5 MPG), Johnson put up 15.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.2 SPG with a .405/.286/.750 shooting line.
There had been mutual interest between Johnson and the Lakers to reach a contract agreement, especially after the team traded Rajon Rondo to the Cavaliers to clear a roster spot. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Johnson has played for the Pistons, Pelicans, Raptors and Lakers since entering the NBA. He has proven capable of providing energy and defensive versatility, but his offensive game has always been limited. In 376 career regular season games, he has averaged 6.2 PPG on .376/.297/.764 shooting in 19.8 minutes per contest.