B.J. Johnson

Nets Notes: Simmons, Warren, Marks, Rupert, O’Neale, Claxton

The Nets’ Ben Simmons, who is dealing with left knee soreness, is questionable to play Monday against the Lakers, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweetsT.J. Warren, who has a left shin contusion, is listed as doubtful.

Simmons didn’t play in the 122-115 win over the Knicks on Saturday after suffering the injury against Detroit on Thursday. Warren also missed Saturday’s game after playing on Thursday.

We have more on the Nets:

  • GM Sean Marks has been travelling far and wide to scout a point guard, Nets Daily relays. Marks has reportedly twice scouted 18-year-old French point guard 6’7” Rayan Rupert, who plays for the New Zealand Breakers. Marks, who watched Rupert play in Australia and New Zealand, was accompanied on the trip by Nets director of player evaluation, B.J. Johnson. Rupert is currently ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • They traded with Utah for Royce O’Neale this summer and it’s worked out well, according to another Nets Daily story. He’s leading the team in minutes played while enjoying a career year. “[He’s] a guy that you trust at the end of the game, who’ll take the right shot, who’ll make the right decision at the end of the game, who doesn’t mind playing on both ends of the floor,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He has the trust of his coaching staff, his teammates and he’s in the right spot.” O’Neale’s $9.5MM contract for next season is only partially guaranteed at $2.5MM but they’re likely to fully guarantee it, considering his value to the team.
  • Nic Claxton is enjoying the city rivalry with the Knicks, especially since his team has won nine straight against them, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. “It does feel like a rivalry just because you felt the energy in there (Saturday),” he said. “We’re here at Barclays and they had a lot of fans and it was definitely a good atmosphere. But me, I’ve never lost to the Nets since I’ve been in the league, I don’t think. It’s always fun playing the Knicks.” 

COVID Updates: Joseph, Jackson, Murray, Johnson, Okeke, Rondo, Ball, Maxey

The league continues to be ravaged by COVID positives with an increasing number of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Here are the latest updates:

  • The Pistons, who already had six players in protocols, added guards Cory Joseph and Josh Jackson to the list, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. The Pistons are scheduled to play the Spurs on Sunday night. San Antonio will be without Dejounte Murray, who also entered protocols on Sunday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
  • The Magic, who already had a handful of players in protocols, won’t have B.J. Johnson and Chuma Okeke available against Miami on Sunday after they joined the list, the team’s PR department tweets. Moritz Wagner has exited the protocols but is going through a reconditioning period before returning to action, per the team (Twitter link).
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has entered protocols, joining three other Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.
  • Two-way player Jose Alvarado became the third Pelicans players to enter protocols, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets.
  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has entered protocols, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Bulls, who have experienced major COVID issues this month, also have Alfonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley in protocols, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tweets. McKinnie just signed a standard contract and he can be replaced via the hardship exemption, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Chicago has seen 14 players enter protocols this month.
  • On the positive side, the Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey was spotted at shootaround after exiting protocols, Keith Pompey of  the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Magic Sign Four Players To 10-Day Contracts

The Magic have called up four players from their G League affiliate, signing swingman B.J. Johnson, guard Hassani Gravett, and forwards Admiral Schofield and Aleem Ford to 10-day contracts, the team announced today in a press release. All four Lakeland Magic players were signed using hardship exceptions.

As we detailed earlier today, the Magic found themselves shorthanded after Ignas Brazdeikis, Terrence Ross, Moritz Wagner, and R.J. Hampton entered the health and safety protocols. Orlando is also missing Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Michael Carter-Williams, and E’Twaun Moore due to long-term injuries, raising questions about whether the team would have the minimum required eight players available for Friday’s game vs. Miami.

Since then, Mohamed Bamba has also entered the health and safety protocols, according to the Magic (Twitter link). However, with four G League call-ups joining the seven remaining players on the NBA squad, Orlando should be able to move forward with its schedule for the time being.

Of Orlando’s four newly-added players, two – Johnson and Schofield – have NBA experience. Johnson has also been Lakeland’s leading scorer so far this season, putting up 24.7 PPG on .462/.344/.821 shooting in his first 10 games (34.5 MPG).

Schofield has averaged 14.4 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 12 G League games (33.0 MPG), while Gravett has recorded 13.6 PPG, 5.8 APG, and 5.2 RPG in 12 games (34.5 MPG) and Ford has posted 9.6 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 12 games (28.1 MPG).

The hardship provision allows teams with several players unavailable due to injuries or the health and safety protocols to add extra players on a temporary basis.

Jordan Bell, Shaq Harrison Among Team USA Players For World Cup Qualifiers

USA Basketball has announced its roster for a pair of upcoming qualifying games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. The squad, which will be coached by former Bulls head coach Jim Boylen, is comprised of G-Leaguers, nearly all of whom have prior NBA experience. Here’s the list:

Of the 12 players on the roster, 11 have appeared in at least one NBA regular season game, led by Harrison (173 career games) and Bell (160 games). Simpson is the only player without any NBA experience under his belt.

The 2023 World Cup will take place in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia two years from now, while the first qualifying matches will take place later this month. The U.S. team will face Cuba on November 28 and Mexico on November 29. After November’s games, the next round of qualifiers will take place in February.

Although NBA players make up Team USA’s roster in the World Cup itself, the qualifiers take place during the NBA season, so USA Basketball generally opts to build a roster made up of G League veterans. A group led by Jeff Van Gundy put up a 10-2 record in qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup from 2017-19. Mason and Randle participated in a handful of those contests.

Magic Waive Four Players

The Magic have waived Admiral Schofield, B.J. Johnson, Jeff Dowtin and Hassani Gravett, the team announced in a press release today. All four players are likely to play for the team’s G League affiliate in Lakeland this season.

Orlando currently has 16 players on its roster, including one two-way contract. It’s unclear whether the team will fill its second two-way spot before the season begins.

The Magic committed to rebuilding last season, trading away Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier before the deadline. The team has a strong young core entering the 2021/22 campaign, headlined by Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and No. 5 pick Jalen Suggs.

That core also includes third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. — who signed a four-year contract extension with the organization this week.

Magic Sign B.J. Johnson, Waive Devin Cannady

The Magic have waived guard Devin Cannady and filled the newly-opened roster spot by signing free agent wing B.J. Johnson, the team announced today in a press release.

Johnson, who went undrafted out of La Salle in 2018, has appeared in 17 total NBA games with three teams – Atlanta, Sacramento, and Orlando – since going pro, but he has spent most of his career so far in the G League.

Johnson appeared in 67 games for the Lakeland Magic in his first two seasons, averaging an impressive 22.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 2.0 SPG on .458/.417/.786 shooting in 28 NBAGL games (35.9 MPG) in 2019/20. He played for the Long Island Nets in the 2021 G League bubble, then signed with the Brisbane Bullets in April.

Lakeland just acquired Johnson’s G League returning rights from Long Island today in a five-team trade, so it’s a safe bet he’ll be returning to Orlando’s NBAGL affiliate this season. Cannady figures to join him there.

And-Ones: Wright-Foreman, B. Johnson, Canada, Banchero

A pair of former NBA players who were on two-way contracts during the 2019/20 season have signed new contracts overseas.

Point guard Justin Wright-Foreman, the 53rd overall pick in the 2019 draft, has joined Chorale Roanne Basket in France for the remainder of the season, the team said in a press release. Wright-Foreman spent all of ’19/20 on a two-way deal with the Jazz, but appeared in just four games and wasn’t retained in the fall. He played for the Erie BayHawks in the G League bubble this winter.

Meanwhile, small forward B.J. Johnson, who appeared in 10 games last season while on a two-way contract with Orlando, has inked a rest-of-season contract with the Brisbane Bullets, the Australian team announced. Like Wright-Foreman, Johnson hasn’t played in the NBA at all in 2020/21, but participated in the NBAGL bubble, averaging 18.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 14 games (31.1 MPG) for the Long Island Nets.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Heat Convert Max Strus To Two-Way Deal, Waive B.J. Johnson

11:14am: As expected, the Heat have waived Johnson, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.


10:50am: The Heat have converted guard/forward Max Strus‘ Exhibit 10 deal into a two-way contract, the team announced in a press release on Saturday. Miami had an open two-way slot alongside point guard Gabe Vincent.

Strus appeared in two preseason contests with the Heat, averaging a team-best 16.5 PPG along with 5.0 RPG and 2.5 APG while shooting 50% from the field. In Miami’s 117-105 win last night over the Raptors, Strus came off the bench to add 22 points while shooting 6-of-8 from three-point range.

Two-way contracts allow NBA teams to carry two extra players in addition to the 15 on their regular season roster. Those deals will likely be more important than ever this season, since two-way players will be permitted to appear in up to 50 regular season games at the NBA level. With the G League season expected to take place in a bubble, two-way players figure to spend most or all of the season with their respective NBA clubs.

Strus’ converted deal means that he beat out swingman B.J. Johnson, who was signed by the Heat in early December. Johnson appeared in just two preseason games with the Heat, averaging 1.5 PPG. It is a near-lock that he’ll be waived, given his non-guaranteed deal, along with the fact that Miami is carrying 15 players with guaranteed contracts.

B.J. Johnson Signs With Heat

Swingman B.J. Johnson has signed a contract with the Heat, according to a team press release.

It’s believed to be an Exhibit 10 contract. Johnson will compete with several other players for Miami’s remaining two-way contract, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Point guard Gabe Vincent has already signed a two-way deal. The Heat now have a full 20-man camp roster.

Miami’s latest transaction comes as a surprise. Johnson was reported to be signing with the Suns, so either there was never an agreement in place with Phoenix or that deal fell through.

Johnson, 24, was on a two-way contract with Magic last season but entered unrestricted free agency after he did not receive a qualifying offer last month. He appeared in just 10 games for Orlando, averaging 8.3 MPG.

He also appeared in 28 games (all starts) with the Magic’s G League team, Lakeland, and averaged 22.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 2.1 SPG and 35.9 MPG while shooting 42.3% from 3-point range. The 6’7″ wing went undrafted out of La Salle in 2018.

In his rookie year, Johnson spent time with the Hawks, Kings and Magic.

B.J. Johnson To Sign With Suns

Small forward B.J. Johnson is set to sign a deal with the Suns, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (via Twitter).

Johnson, 24, was on a two-way contract with Magic for the 2019/20 season but did not receive a qualifying offer from Orlando. Details of Johnson’s agreement with the Suns are unknown as of this writing, but it’s unlikely to be a fully guaranteed deal.

The 6’7″ wing went undrafted out of La Salle in 2018. After a stop with the Magic’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, at the start of the 2018/19 season, he logged limited time for the Hawks and Kings before landing back in Orlando in the fall of 2019. He appeared in just 10 games for Orlando, averaging 8.3 MPG.

In 28 games (all starts) for the Lakeland Magic during the 2019/20 season, however, Johnson averaged 22.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 2.1 SPG. He had a shooting line of .461/.414/.784. For his efforts, Johnson was rewarded with a 2020 All-NBA G League Second Team inclusion.