Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed free agent forwards DerMarr Johnson, Linton Johnson and Taj McCullough. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not released. But it’s quite likely that all three signings are just “training camp additions” with nonguaranteed deals. Chances are, all three will be cut during or after camp. But of the three, Johnson is most likely to stick, followed by Johnson. McCullough is a distant long-shot.
“DerMarr’s experience and versatility, Linton’s athleticism and defensive ability and Taj’s play with our summer league team gives them a chance to compete for a roster spot,” said Grunfeld. “We’re looking forward to training camp as an opportunity to evaluate how they might fit into the mix at the small forward position.”
DerMarr Johnson (6-9, 210) is a seven-year veteran who has seen action with the Hawks, Knicks, Nuggets and Spurs. He holds NBA career averages of 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 136 games. A Washington DC native, Johnson was originally selected by Atlanta with the sixth overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft following his freshman year at the University of Cincinnati. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.4 rebounds for the Hawks in 2001-02, but missed the entire 2002-03 season after suffering four cracked vertebra in his neck following a car accident. He returned to the NBA with New York in 2003-04 and spent the next three seasons (2004-05 through 2006-07) with Denver. Johnson averaged 3.4 points in five games with San Antonio last season.
Linton Johnson (6-8, 205) is a five-year veteran who has seen action with the Bulls, Spurs, Nets, Hornets, Raptors and Suns. He holds NBA career averages of 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 141 games after going undrafted out of Tulane University. Johnson had his best statistical run when he averaged 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds over the final 27 games for New Orleans/Oklahoma City after being acquired in a midseason trade with New Jersey. Johnson averaged 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds last season in eight games between Toronto and Phoenix.
McCullough (6-7, 227) averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in five games with the Wizards’ entry in the 2008 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The rookie out of Winthrop averaged 11.6 points and a team-high 5.8 rebounds as a senior last season and helped the Eagles to a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Wizards’ training camp roster now stands at 17 players. The team will hold camp from September 27-October 3 at the Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.