Soon after the Los Angeles Clippers traded Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens and acquired Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Shams Charania of Real GM reported Ivan Johnson was considering joining the Clippers, giving the franchise a much-needed fourth big off the bench. But soon after the tweet, the potential Johnson signing faded into the mist, becoming an afterthought.
Now, Ivan Johnson has revealed to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York.com why he never came back stateside to join a NBA club:
I was close to signing with a lot of [NBA teams],” Johnson said. “Most of the teams were trying to give me the minimum. I got two little boys, 1 and 2, so I had to have the money.”
But after his dreadful experience in China, Johnson doesn’t want to go overseas again.
He wants back in the NBA. And he says there’s a chance he’ll take the minimum this time if it’s all he gets offered.
Johnson’s reasoning behind not returning stateside is as honest an answer there is. While playing with a potential championship contender is a great gig, family is always the number one priority to a lot of athletes despite what people choose to think.
The good news is that, as the blurb says, Johnson is ready to return to the NBA after a year off. According to Johnson himself, he has a workout with the Clippers (and Spurs, Pacers, Cavaliers) coming up soon, and depending on the terms, Johnson could be one of the rotation bigs going into next season, especially with Glen Davis expected to decline his player option, becoming an unrestricted free agent in the process.
It’s a bit early for anything to come into fruition, but signing Johnson to backup Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan would be a nice low-risk, medium reward move going into next season.