After two somewhat productive seasons with the Hawks, bruising big man Ivan Johnson is an unrestricted free agent.
While he’s been in talks recently with a few NBA teams — including the New York Knicks — the offers have been slow to come, and no team has been willing to step up with anything longer than a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum salary.
Like most players, Johnson would like to sign for a bit more than that. So if he doesn’t get what he’s looking for stateside, he may consider accepting an offer to play overseas next season.
Interest in Ivan Johnson hasn’t elevated as he had expected, and now the free agent forward is seriously considering leaving the NBA for lucrative offers from Chinese and Italian teams, his agent Jeremiah Haylett told RealGM.
“It is very legitimate Ivan could end up overseas this season,” Haylett said Friday. “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.”
Johnson has had a long road to the NBA, and on the court has proven to be a valuable contributor for more than just small stretches.
It’s possible teams are still wary of Johnson’s personality fit in the locker room, however, as he’s had a history of issues at all levels, including with the Hawks near the end of his rookie season. It’s unfortunate, but a reputation like that can stick with players who are considered to be below the level of elite from a talent perspective.
Johnson could choose to play overseas instead of taking a minimum NBA deal, if offered. But it might be best to take whatever comes his way and play out a season proving to teams that he can be a solid locker room presence who will contribute on the court without becoming any type of distraction.