Former Atlanta Hawks bruiser Ivan Johnson is not receiving much interest in the free agency market and now is seriously considering leaving the NBA for “lucrative offers from Chinese and Italian teams”, reports RealGM.com writer Shams Charania.
“It is very legitimate Ivan could end up overseas this season,” Johnson’s agent Jeremiah Haylett told RealGM. “It’s the best possibility right now. It wouldn’t be a multi-year deal, though, because he would like to get back into the NBA.”
Johnson entered the offseason as an unrestricted free-agent when Atlanta elected not to extend a qualifying offer to him by the July 1 deadline. He was later renounced by the Hawks, meaning the team was giving up his Bird rights, although they could have still signed him at any time to a veteran’s minimum contract. However, with the recent bolstering of the frontcourt with acquisitions of Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, Pero Antić, and Gustavo Ayon, there were hardly any minutes available for Johnson so he was cut loose.
If Johnson doesn’t find an NBA team to pick him up next season, he can just go back overseas.
Before suiting up for an NBA team, the 6’8” power forward played a couple of seasons in the Korean Basketball League for the Changwon LG Sakers and Jeonju KCC Egis from 2008-2010. Although, it’s certain he won’t be returning to the KBL, ever — he was “banned forever” for directing the middle finger gesture at a referee during the final game of the 2010 championship series. In addition to being banned, the KBL also fined Johnson $4,448 (US).
Aside from South Korea, Johnson has also spent time playing in Puerto Rico and China.
In Atlanta, Ivan was adored by Hawks fans for his volcanic temperament and intimidating prowess, along with his death-inducing beard.
Johnson appeared in 125 games, averaging 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest in his two-year stint with the Hawks.
Check back in a day or two for updates.