Frustrated he hasn’t received much attention in the open market, free-agent power forward Ivan Johnson has set a two-week deadline for NBA teams to come up with a “reasonable offer”, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. If no offers come about, Johnson will take his talents overseas.
It was reported a few days ago that Johnson was seriously considering leaving the NBA for “lucrative offers from Chinese and Italian teams,” and evidently he’s not bluffing.
“It is very legitimate Ivan could end up overseas this season,” Johnson’s agent Jeremiah Haylett told RealGM.com last week. “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.”
A source close to the situation told CSNNW.com that “Johnson will be fine either way, as long as he is playing the game of basketball.”
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.
The New York Knicks were one of the top teams inquiring about Johnson’s services, but no offer was ever made.
It’s becoming painfully clear that Ivan will most likely not play in the NBA next season. Luckily for him, he’s no stranger to the game 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 — 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.