The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Thursday that they have signed forward Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract.
With the Lakers short on most of the rotation due to players being placed in health and safety protocols in the month of December, they turned to the former first-round pick to bring them some depth on the wing.
The Lakers originally signed Johnson to a 10-day contract via the NBA’s Hardship Exception and the forward immediately showed how he could be an asset to the team. Making his debut against the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day, Johnson took up the task of guarding James Harden and did an admirable job considering the circumstances.
When Los Angeles decided to fully commit to small-ball, Johnson was inserted into the starting lineup and immediately provided a level of energy and defensive effort that had not been present before.
The Arizona product made an impression on the team and the fan base and will now get another chance to contribute for at least 10 more days.
The move comes as no surprise given how Johnson looked in his first stint with the Purple and Gold. In five appearances, Johnson averaged 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in about 25 minutes a game while providing tough and physical perimeter defense.
With Los Angeles’ roster finally close to full strength, Johnson may not see the floor as much as he previously did but he should be able to carve out a role because of the lack of 3-and-D wings. Trevor Ariza is clearly working his way back into game shape, so head coach Frank Vogel could opt to use Johnson in certain matchups.
Working in the Lakers’ favor is that if Johnson continues to play well they will be able to sign him to an additional 10-day contract before having to decide whether or not to sign him for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. However, it would be a major surprise if Johnson is not with the team for the rest of the year as he has certainly earned a longer look.
DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore on trade block
When the Lakers traded Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it opened up a roster spot that most earmarked Johnson to take. The roster currently sits at 15 players, though the front office is rumored to have made DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore available in trade talks in order to open more spots ahead of the deadline.
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