Armon Johnson

And-Ones: Rubio, Winslow, Cuba

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio might not play for the Spanish National Team at the European Championships in September, Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Rubio’s NBA season has been marred by a left ankle injury that limited him to 22 games before he was declared out for the season by Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders over the weekend. Rubio is more concerned with being 100% for training camp than the European championships, Youngblood adds. “Of course the priority this summer is my health,” he said to Youngblood. “I haven’t been healthy, and I owe this team a lot. In four years, I have one good season, an 82-game season.”

  • Duke freshman Justise Winslow is a better NBA prospect than Wisconsin junior Sam Dekker, Chad Ford of opines in a debate with fellow draft expert Kevin Pelton. Ford has Winslow rated No. 6 on his draft board with Dekker also sneaking into the lottery at No. 13. Winslow’s superior athletic ability and high motor make him the better prospect, Ford argues. Pelton feels both players are somewhat overrated but also has Winslow as the better prospect, despite wild swings in his performance over the course of the season.
  • The NBA is poised to become the first U.S. professional sports league to visit Cuba since President Barack Obama ordered diplomatic relations between the countries to be restored, Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press reports. The league will hold a three-day development camp and host youth clinics in Cuba next month, according to Mahoney. The NBA and FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, will also invite two players and one coach from Cuba to participate in an upcoming Basketball without Borders camp.
  • Armon Johnson has signed with the Spurs’ D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, for the league playoffs, Mike Tokito of The Oregonian tweets. Johnson, a point guard, played a combined 39 games for the Trail Blazers during the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons and also appeared in eight games with the Nets during the 2011/12 campaign.

International Moves: Johnson, Tskitishvili, Jones

While the majority of NBA executives are holding off on movement until December 15th, when most of the free agents signed this summer can be traded, there's plenty going on overseas. We'll round up the latest here.

Earlier updates:

  • Nikoloz Tskitishvili, whom the Nuggets selected with the fifth overall pick in 2002, has signed to play for Champville in Lebanon, Sportando's Emiliano Carchia reports. He'll replace Dwayne Jones, who played parts of five NBA seasons (Twitter link). Tskitishvili, who hasn't appeared in the NBA since 2005/06, began the season with an Iranian team. 
  • Jermareo Davidson has inked with the Turkish club Antalya, according to Carchia. Davidson, a second-round pick of the Warriors in 2007, last played in the NBA in 2008/09.
  • Jon Pastuszek of chronicles the struggles of Tracy McGrady in China, who's straining under the pressure of having to carry the winless Qingdao Double Star Eagles. Pastuszek notes the team is trying to unload fellow American import D.J. Mbenga, according to SinaSports (Chinese link). Mbenga signed with the team after the Mavericks cut him right before training camp.

Magic Waive Christian Eyenga, Armon Johnson

The Magic have made a pair of roster cuts, officially waiving Christian Eyenga and Armon Johnson, the team announced today in a press release. The moves reduce Orlando's roster to 18 players.

Orlando had been carrying 16 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so the team needed to trade or waive at least one player who was owed guaranteed money. As such, it's not a huge shock that the Magic dropped Eyenga, who sat out the team's preseason games with a hamstring injury. The 23-year-old, a former first-round pick, was acquired as part of the Dwight Howard trade, and had a $2.12MM option for 2013/14, which it seems won't be exercised. His $1.17MM 2012/13 salary will count against the Magic's cap, however, unless he's claimed on waivers.

With Eyenga and Johnson off the roster, the Magic will need to make three additional cuts to reach the regular-season maximum of 15 players. DeQuan Jones and Chris Johnson also have non-guaranteed deals, making them candidates to be released. E'Twaun Moore's contract is mostly non-guaranteed as well, with just a $90K buyout.

Magic Sign Armon Johnson, DeQuan Jones

SEPTEMBER 29: The Magic confirmed the signings via press release.

SEPTEMBER 19: The Magic expect to sign Armon Johnson and DeQuan Jones to contracts, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter). The additions, if and when they become official, would brings Orlando's roster to a total of 19 players.

Johnson, 23, was said to be seeking an NBA roster spot earlier this summer. He'll likely be on a non-guaranteed deal with the Magic and will face an uphill battle earning a spot on the roster, but given the team's lack of point guard depth, he should get a long look in training camp. The 6'3" guard has appeared in 47 games with the Trail Blazers and Nets over the last two seasons after being drafted 34th overall in 2010.

Jones, a 6'8" forward, was part of the Magic's summer league roster in Orlando this summer, averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in four games. The 22-year-old went undrafted in June out of the University of Miami, where he played just 17.3 minutes per contest in his senior year.

Armon Johnson Seeking NBA Roster Spot

Armon Johnson is currently running a youth basketball camp in Reno, Nevada, but will soon turn his attention to securing an NBA contract, as Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal writes. Johnson tells Murray that he expects to receive a training camp invitation and is confident he'll earn a spot on an NBA roster.

"I’ve been talking to some teams," Johnson said. "Right now, talk is just talk. I don’t want to mention the teams and put rumors out there, but when the time comes, I’ll be ready. I’m very confident I’ll be with a team next year. I’m working my butt off in the gym to be ready for camp, and I’m going to take advantage of whatever opportunity I get."

The 34th overall pick in the 2010 draft was waived by the Trail Blazers last year in order to clear a roster spot for Joel Przybilla. Johnson finished the season with the Nets, and is now an unrestricted free agent. At age 23, Johnson is likely to receive a shot from a team intrigued by his youth and athleticism, but the Nevada product isn't taking anything for granted.

"I took from last season that the NBA is a business and you just have to cherish every moment that you have," Johnson said. "You never know what can happen and life has its ups and downs and every moment in your life you just have to cherish as a whole."

Johnson is one of a number of free agent point guards still on the market, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.

Dwight Howard Rumors: Monday

It may not be many more days until our long national Dwightmare is over. Yesterday's reports on Howard suggested talks involving the Magic, Nets, and Cavaliers were getting serious, and that Orlando plans to make "one last sweep" around the league before deciding whether to accept the Nets' offer. While we wait to see if anything is agreed upon today, here are the latest rumblings on the Howard front:

  • Chad Ford's report includes some more slight tweaks to the framework described below. Ford adds Chris Duhon to the list of players headed to the Nets, suggests the Magic would receive one fewer first-rounder (a total of three instead of four), and says the Cavs would receive $3MM in cash.
  • Ford's report, along with tweets from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Ken Berger of, suggest that the Cavs and Clippers still aren't entirely on board. The Plain Dealer tweets that talk of a deal getting close is premature, while Berger says the Clips haven't agreed to anything yet and are one of several potential fourth-team facilitators in the mix (Twitter links).

Earlier updates:

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Nets Re-Sign Armon Johnson

The Nets have re-signed Armon Johnson for the rest of the season following the expiration of his 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release.

After appearing in just a single game for the Blazers earlier this season, Johnson was waived to clear a spot on the roster for Joel Przybilla. The 23-year-old guard has received a shot at more playing time with the Nets, averaging 4.4 PPG on 58.8% shooting in five contests (8.8 MPG).

As our 10-day contract tracker shows, Johnson joins Gerald Green as the only other Net to be signed to a rest-of-season deal following a 10-day contract this year. New Jersey has signed a total of five players to at least one 10-day deal.

Minor Moves: Selby, Jazz, Ahearn, Randolph

In a team statement, the Nets announced they have signed guard Armon Johnson to a 10-day contract (Twitter link). The move was likely made to help replace Jordan Farmar, who will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury. The 6’3″ Johnson has played just five minutes this season with the Trail Blazers.  

  • The Grizzlies recalled Josh Selby from the D-League, according to J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today (via Twitter).  If that sentence looks familiar, that’s because Memphis has sent the guard to Reno and recalled him three times this season.  That’s the maximum number of times that a player can be demoted in a year, so Selby won’t be sent down again.
  • The Jazz are expected to sign Blake Ahearn to a ten-day contract, according to Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter).  Ahearn is the D-League’s all-time leading scorer and led the league in scoring this season 23.8 PPG while shooting over 40% from three-point range.
  • Former NBA player Shavlik Randolph has officially signed with Puerto Rico’s Piratas de Quebradillas, according to Sportando. He spent the first part of this season in China. 

Odds & Ends: Cavs, Chandler, World Peace, Ellis

No trades have been agreed upon yet, but with less than 48 hours remaining until Thursday's trade deadline, it shouldn't be long before we see our first deadline deal of 2012. In the meantime, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:

Northwest Notes: T-Wolves, Morrow, Blazers, Jazz

A pair of Northwest teams are on the road tonight to open the second half — the Jazz play the Kings in Sacramento, while the Timberwolves head to the Staples Center to face the Clippers. As we wait for the season to resume following the All-Star break, let's check in on some updates out of the Northwest Division….