Needing help on the wing all season, the Los Angeles Lakers brought in Stanley Johnson on a 10-day contract and he immediately impressed, bringing the team a much-needed spark.
Johnson was able to earn a second 10-day contract with the Lakers, although that expired following Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
Typically, teams are only allowed to sign players to two 10-day contracts before either signing them for the remainder of the season or letting them become free agents. However, the first of Johnson’s 10-day deals fell under the hardship exception, meaning it did not count towards the traditional two 10-day limit.
So with that, Johnson is now able to return to the Lakers on his third and final 10-day deal, and Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting they will make that signing official on Monday:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 17, 2022
While fans have been clamoring for Johnson to get a standard deal for the rest of the regular season, using 10-days allows the Lakers to have roster flexibility ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
After this contract expires, the Lakers will no longer be able to keep him on a 10-day and will have to commit to him for the entire season or allow him to remain a free agent. If they go that route, he would likely play for the South Bay Lakers while he waits for another NBA team to call.
Johnson made an immediate impact when he was brought in just before Christmas Day. With the team down multiple role players, Johnson impressed with his defense on James Harden against the Brooklyn Nets and was applauded for his energy and versatility on that end of the floor.
Defense has always been Johnson’s calling card. However, lackluster offensive output is what stopped him from sticking on an NBA roster despite being the No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
The Lakers simply didn’t need offense from Johnson, as scoring was less of an issue than their porous defense. He provided a quality wing defender that the team was desperately missing prior to the return of Trevor Ariza to the lineup.
It remains to be seen what the Lakers’ plans are with Johnson after these next 10 days. How they approach Johnson’s contract could directly correlate with potential moves at the trade deadline.
In nine games with the Lakers thus far, Johnson has started in five, averaging 21.3 minutes per game. During that time, he’s averaged 5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.9 steals on 45.9% from the field and 27.3% from three.
Johnson hopes to stay with L.A. long term
Prior to the expiration of his second 10-day deal, Johnson spoke about his hopes to remain with the Lakers moving forward.
“Hopefully I’ve shown that I can be consistent, a good teammate, bring energy to the court, and just be a good professional overall,” he said. “Obviously the goal is to get on the team and obviously stick long-term. That’s a goal of mine, if it happens it happens, I’ll be very excited about it.”
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