First-time free-agent James Johnson is in search of a new home and will workout for three teams including the Atlanta Hawks, reports Shams Charania of RealGM.com. He will also workout for the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz.
Johnson, 26, was drafted 16th overall by Chicago in 2009, but hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations of a first-round pick. In his rookie campaign, he appeared in 65 games (11 starts), averaging 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per contest.
The Bulls didn’t seem to be satisfied with the 6’9” prospect so they shipped him out 13 games into his second NBA season to Toronto in exchange for a 2011 first-round draft pick, which the Raptors initially received from the Miami Heat via the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade. That first-round pick turned out to be Norris Cole at 28th overall. However, Chicago traded his rights that draft night to Minnesota, who then traded him to Miami. For compensation of flipping Cole, Chicago received the draft rights to the 23rd pick.
Johnson had a terrific second-half of the season when he arrived in Toronto, posting career-highs in points (9.2), rebounds (4.7), assists (3.0), minutes (28.0) and field-goal percentage (46.4%). Next year in 2011-12, Johnson’s first full season with the Raptors, he maintained his offensive output and improved overall, setting new marks in games started (40), blocks (1.4) and steals (1.2).
Despite his success in Toronto, he was traded the following offseason to Sacramento in exchange for a 2014 second-round draft pick. Johnson had a mediocre year with the Kings last season, averaging 5.1 points in 16.3 minutes per game as a third-string power forward.
In 219 career contests, Johnson has averages of 6.3 ppg and 3.2 rpg, along with a 12.4 PER.
Atlanta, San Antonio and Utah all currently have between 12-14 guaranteed contracts on their books for next season, so there’d be room for Johnson to earn a roster spot on any of the three teams.
The Hawks are 3-deep at each position except small forward, where only sharpshooter Kyle Korver and the scrappy DeMarre Carroll reside. If the club decides to sign Johnson, he’ll most likely serve as a third-string combo forward who will rarely get any playing time.