The Memphis Grizzlies signed forward James Johnson of the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team announced today.
Johnson (6-9, 245) joins the Grizzlies after averaging 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.90 steals and 3.40 blocks on .496 shooting in 29.9 minutes in 10 games (all starts) for Rio Grande Valley this season. The 26-year-old is the only D-League player this season to rank in the top 15 in scoring (14th), rebounding (12th) and assists (14th) by average. He also places third in the D-League in blocks per game and is tied for seventh in steals per game.
Johnson owns NBA career averages of 6.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.98 blocks on .443 shooting in 18.3 minutes in 219 games (87 starts) in four seasons with the Chicago Bulls (2009-10 to 2010-11), Toronto Raptors (2010-11 to 2011-12) and Sacramento Kings (2012-13). He played the 2013 preseason with the Atlanta Hawks but was waived on Oct. 21, 2013.
The Cheyenne, Wyo. native’s best season as a pro came in 2011-12 with Toronto when he averaged career highs across the board with 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.15 steals and 1.35 blocks in 25.2 minutes. He was one of just seven qualifying NBA players that season to average at least one steal and one block per game, joining Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Josh Smith, DeMarcus Cousins and Kenyon Martin.
He holds career D-League averages of 18.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.50 steals and 3.00 blocks on .513 shooting in 30.9 minutes in 18 games (all starts) for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Iowa Energy.
Johnson was drafted by Chicago in the first round (16th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft after two seasons at Wake Forest University. He led the Demon Deacons in rebounding each year and as a sophomore guided the team to a 24-5 record and a No. 1 ranking during the 2008-09 season.