Alize Johnson

Eastern Notes: Knicks, R. Williams, Isaac, Portis

The Knicks held a free agent mini-camp this week, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link), who says a number of players with NBA experience were in attendance.

Guards Devon Dotson and Chris Clemons, swingman DaQuan Jeffries, forwards Louis King and George King, and big men Alize Johnson and Reggie Perry were among the players who participated in the Knicks’ mini-camp, per Zagoria. John Petty, Craig Randall, Carlik Jones, Aaron Henry, and A.J. Lawson also took part.

The Knicks won’t necessarily sign any of the free agents who attended the mini-camp, but it gave them a chance to see some of the talent that’s out there as they mull possible Summer League and training camp invites.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics big man Robert Williams, who is still listed as questionable for Game 6 on Friday, was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee after colliding with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3, head coach Ime Udoka said today. Williams’ injured knee is the same one he had surgery on in March, but that procedure isn’t the cause of his current absence. “There’s no problems with the surgery at all,” Udoka said, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “It’s just that specific hit that he took (in Game 3).”
  • Because of the injury-related language and games-played requirements in Jonathan Isaac‘s contract with the Magic, his $17.4MM annual salaries for the next three years are now partially guaranteed instead of fully guaranteed, as Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. Isaac has missed two straight seasons due to an ACL tear, but there’s no indication that the Magic are considering waiving him, which is the only way they could avoid paying his full salaries.
  • Bobby Portis only shot 4-of-14 from the floor in the Bucks‘ Game 5 win on Wednesday, but he grabbed 15 rebounds and made the sort of crucial hustle plays the team values, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Averaging a double-double (11.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG) so far this postseason, Portis is once again displaying his value ahead of possible free agency. He holds a $4.6MM player option for 2022/23.

Alize Johnson Signs Another 10-Day With Pelicans

12:51pm: New Orleans has officially signed Johnson to a new 10-day deal using the hardship exception, the team announced in a press release.

11:23am: The Pelicans are signing forward Alize Johnson to a second 10-day contact via the hardship exception, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Johnson’s standard 10-day contract was terminated a day early on Friday, as New Orleans added Tyrone Wallace on a standard 10-day deal. However, the hardship exception was made available due to CJ McCollum being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols this week.

New Orleans thus has the option of offering Johnson another standard 10-day before deciding whether to offer him a rest-of-the-season contract.

Johnson appeared in three games on his first 10-day with New Orleans, averaging 3.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 8.0 minutes per contest. He didn’t have to pass through waivers, so he’s eligible to be signed immediately.

Johnson, 25, has also played 16 games with Chicago and three with Washington this season.

Pelicans Release Alize Johnson, Officially Sign Tyrone Wallace

The Pelicans have terminated Alize Johnson‘s 10-day contract a day early, clearing room on the roster to officially sign Tyrone Wallace to a 10-day deal, the team announced today in a press release. Both transactions are official.

Wallace, who has appeared in 106 NBA regular season games for the Clippers and Hawks, has spent this season with the Long Island Nets in the G League. He has averaged 18.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.3 APG on .483/.436/.727 shooting in 20 appearances (33.4 MPG) for Brooklyn’s NBAGL affiliate.

Word first broke on Thursday that Wallace would sign a 10-day deal with the Pelicans after CJ McCollum entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Placing McCollum in the protocols gives New Orleans a COVID-related hardship exception, allowing them to add a 16th man. But the team chose to use the final spot on its standard 15-man roster to sign Wallace, which is why Johnson had to be released.

It’s possible that the Pelicans will now use their hardship exception to re-sign Johnson to a new 10-day deal. Since COVID-related hardship signings don’t count toward a player’s limit of two 10-day contracts with the same team, it makes sense that the team would use that hardship exception on a player who has already signed a standard 10-day deal, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observed (via Twitter).

Johnson has appeared in three games since signing last Wednesday, averaging 3.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 8.0 minutes per contest. He’ll be a free agent immediately, without having to pass through waivers.

Pelicans Place CJ McCollum In Protocols, Will Sign Ty Wallace To 10-Day

Tyrone Wallace plans to sign a 10-day deal with the Pelicans, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Wallace has averaged 27 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 5.9 APG in his last 11 games with the G League’s Long Island Nets.

It’s been a long road back to the NBA for Wallace, the 60th pick of the 2016 draft. He appeared in 92 games for the Clippers from 2017-19 and 14 more for the Hawks during the 2019/20 season. The shooting guard averaged 5.2 PPG in 15.5 MPG during those 106 career appearances.

The news coincides with New Orleans’ announcement on Thursday that CJ McCollum has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and will miss at least Friday’s game against Charlotte (Twitter link). Brandon Ingram is out at least seven-to-10 days due to a hamstring strain.

Alize Johnson‘s 10-day contract is set to expire on Friday. However, Wallace could be added under the hardship exception due to McCollum’s status, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Pelicans Sign Alize Johnson To 10-Day Contract

MARCH 2: Johnson’s 10-day deal with the Pelicans is now official, the team announced in a press release. As noted below, it’ll run through March 11, covering New Orleans’ next six games.

FEBRUARY 28: The Pelicans are adding some frontcourt depth by signing free agent forward Alize Johnson to a 10-day contract, agent George Langberg tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Johnson, 25, began the 2021/22 season with the Bulls after earning a 15-man roster spot in training camp. He was waived in December when Chicago required a spot on the roster for Alfonzo McKinnie and subsequently joined the Wizards on a 10-day hardship deal.

In total, Johnson has appeared in 19 NBA games this season for Chicago and Washington, averaging 1.7 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 7.3 minutes per contest. He has career averages of 2.5 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 68 appearances (7.5 MPG), having also spent time in Indiana and Brooklyn since he was selected 50th overall in the 2018 draft.

The Pelicans have an opening on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to sign Johnson, who will get a standard 10-day contract. The deal will pay him $99,380, with the team taking on a cap hit of $95,930.

New Orleans doesn’t play its next game until Wednesday, so the club could wait until then to officially sign Johnson in order to maximize his 10 days. If he formally joins the Pelicans on Wednesday, Johnson would be under contract through March 11, making him eligible for six games. If he signs today or tomorrow, Johnson’s deal would expire before the team’s March 11 contest vs. Charlotte.

Wizards Sign Alize Johnson

7:36pm: Johnson officially signed prior to the team’s game in Miami, the team announced (via Twitter).

4:43pm:  Alize Johnson is signing with the Wizards on Tuesday and could play significant minutes right away, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Johnson will ink a 10-day contract under the hardship exemption. He was waived by the Bulls over the weekend. His agent told Wojnarowski that his client landed in Miami after clearing waivers and is on the way to the arena, where Washington is playing tonight.

Washington has eight players in protocols, including frontcourt players Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura, Anthony Gill and Montrezl Harrell.

Washington has five games over the next 10 days and Johnson will receive about $98K from the Wizards to go along with the $705K+ he made with Chicago, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Johnson appeared in 16 games for the Bulls, averaging 1.8 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 7.6 MPG.

Selected by the Pacers with the 50th pick in 2018, Johnson spent two years with Indiana, then played 18 games for the Nets last season after joining the team in March on a 10-day contract.

Bulls Waive Alize Johnson, Sign Alfonzo McKinnie For Rest Of Season

10:43am: Both moves are official, the Bulls announced (via Twitter). Since Johnson’s $1.7MM salary was partially guaranteed, the prorated cap hit for Chicago will be about $706K, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. McKinnie will have a $1.09MM salary and a $1.02MM cap hit, leaving the team roughly $3MM below the luxury tax line.

9:06am: The Bulls will waive forward Alize Johnson, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The newly-opened roster spot will be used to sign Alfonzo McKinnie to a contract that covers the remainder of the season (Twitter link).

McKinnie becomes the league’s first COVID-19 hardship addition to earn a standard contract, Charania notes. The 29-year-old small forward signed a pair of 10-day deals and has averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in three games. This is the fifth NBA team for McKinnie, who has also played for the Raptors, Warriors, Cavaliers and Lakers after going undrafted in 2017.

Johnson, 25, signed a two-year deal with Chicago during the offseason and received a partial guarantee of $250K for making the opening-night roster. His $1.878MM salary for 2022/23 was non-guaranteed until July 2, 2022, so the Bulls won’t be on the hook for any more money beyond this season.

Johnson was among several Chicago players who entered the league’s health and safety protocols earlier this month, but he was cleared to return on Thursday. He appeared in 16 games for the Bulls, averaging 1.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 7.6 minutes per night.

Selected by the Pacers with the 50th pick in 2018, Johnson spent two years with Indiana, then played 18 games for the Nets last season after joining the team in March on a 10-day contract.

Zach LaVine, Four Other Bulls Exit COVID-19 Protocols

All the Bulls players who were in the health and safety protocols have now rejoined the team, head coach Billy Donovan said today (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). That group consists of Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, Matt Thomas, and Devon Dotson.

LaVine, Dosunmu, Johnson, and Thomas were all placed in the COVID-19 protocols at least 10 days ago. Dotson just entered the protocols on Tuesday, but has since tested out of them, according to Donovan (Twitter link via Johnson). That suggests that perhaps Dotson registered a false positive test earlier in the week.

It’s great news for the Bulls, who were one of the first teams to be affected by a coronavirus outbreak this month and who have had three games postponed. They’ll resume play on Sunday when they host Indiana.

The Bulls currently have three replacement players on 10-day hardship contracts. Alfonzo McKinnie signed his second 10-day deal on Monday and Ersan Ilyasova and Mac McClung inked their respective 10-day pacts on Wednesday.

While those contracts remain active for now, once all the Bulls players coming out of the protocols have been medically cleared to return to action, the team won’t be able to continue carrying those hardship signees, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). That means Ilyasova and McClung likely won’t get to play out their full 10-day contracts, and if Chicago wants to keep McKinnie around, the team would have to create room by trading or waiving someone from the 15-man roster.

Lakers’ Westbrook, Cavs’ Okoro Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Lakers guard Avery Bradley has also been placed in the protocols, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Westbrook and Bradley are the fourth and fifth Lakers to enter the protocols within the last three days, joining teammates Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, and Malik Monk.

It’s unclear if the two Lakers guards have registered confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, but if they have, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The news of Westbrook and Bradley entering the protocols coincides with reports that the Lakers have agreed to sign Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception. Westbrook’s and Bradley’s absences should open the door for Thomas to get some run at the point guard spot.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro has entered the health and safety protocols, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). No other Cavs players are currently in the protocols, so we’ll have to wait to see if Okoro is a one-off or if any of his teammates join him in the coming days. If Okoro tested positive for COVID-19, he’ll be in the protocols for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, that Coby White and Javonte Green are the only two players on the team who have cleared the health and safety protocols and have been conducting individual workouts. That leaves eight players in the protocols, and many of them – including Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, and Troy Brown Jr. – may not be back until after Christmas, according to Donovan.
  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen also provides a few injury updates on Raptors players — Dalano Banton (illness) is good to go, while OG Anunoby (hip) and Khem Birch (knee) will be listed as questionable for the club’s game vs. Golden State on Saturday.

Bulls’ Alize Johnson Enters Health And Safety Protocols

Yet another Bulls player has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that forward Alize Johnson has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Bulls are currently experiencing the league’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus this season, with 10 players in the protocols. The team only has eight healthy players available, though it’s possible Coby White and/or Javonte Green could exit the protocols and be cleared in time to play on Tuesday vs. Detroit.

The NBA typically requires teams to play their games if they have at least eight players available, so as long as the Bulls don’t enter any more players into the protocols today or tomorrow, the game vs. the Pistons may simply proceed as scheduled.

However, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (video link) says the Bulls have made an appeal to the NBA to postpone that game, which the league could consider — even if Chicago technically has eight players available, the outbreak has reached the point where a postponement may be worth it to ensure the Bulls have stopped the spread and won’t be putting another team at risk.

Besides Johnson, White, and Green, the Bulls players currently affected by the health and safety protocols are Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozanAyo Dosunmu, Derrick Jones Jr., Troy Brown Jr., Matt Thomas and Stanley Johnson. Patrick Williams is also unavailable due to a wrist injury that’s expected to keep him on the shelf for the rest of the regular season.

Following Tuesday’s home game vs. Detroit, the Bulls are scheduled to play in Toronto on Thursday.