During his 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, Stanley Johnson showed he could be a valuable addition to L.A.’s roster ahead of the crucial months of the 2021-22 season.
Johnson recorded a solid 6.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in five games for the Lakers, starting three of them. But it was on the defensive end where the 25-year-old made the biggest impact during his short stint with L.A. — to the extent LeBron James casually named Johnson as one of the team’s “glue guys” who can take the Lakers’ play to another level.
However, head coach Frank Vogel says the organization hasn’t yet decided on the forward’s future after his original 10-day Hardship Exception contract came to an end and he was not with the team for practice on Monday.
“I don’t know in real detail I can go into on that other than that we still hope to have him back for some more games,” Vogel said. “So all those answers will reveal themselves over the next few days, but right now it’s still up in the air.”
The Lakers could sign Johnson to a standard NBA deal that would keep him until the end of the season or wait until Jan. 5 and offer the forward another 10-day contract. If they do the latter, it would help maintain roster flexibility, but it would also mean that Johnson wouldn’t be able to play on Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings.
In assessing Johnson’s time in L.A., Vogel stopped extremely short of giving his green light to bring the Arizona alum back — explaining in detail why he has proven to be a good fit with the Lakers.
“There’s bigger-picture things with the roster that we have to look at, but Stanley has done everything that he needs to do to show that he can help us and I don’t know what ultimately our decision will be with Rob and upstairs but he’s done a great job,” Vogel said.
“I think one of the things that we kind of see with Stanley is obviously he was out of the league to start the season this year and he’s struggled to be a consistent 3-point shooter playing at the wing in a lot of teams and stops that he’s been with.
“And for us, he’s playing small-ball center, and sometimes that unlocks some things with certain players and I think he’s shown us a lot and shown us that could be a positional shift for him that could help his career.”
Johnson imagined himself wearing Lakers jersey when thinking about future NBA career
Johnson has talked about his fondness for the Lakers on numerous occasions, pointing out he has been rooting for the team since childhood. Recently, the forward also said he would imagine himself wearing L.A.’s jersey when thinking about his future NBA career as a kid.
Before that, Johnson revealed the Purple and Gold made him fall in love with basketball in the first place.
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