Lakers head coach Frank Vogel made it pretty clear that the team was interested in bringing Stanley Johnson back on Monday after the forward’s original 10-day contract expired, even if he stopped short of explicitly saying so.
But in case anyone had any lingering doubts about a Johnson return being fairly inevitable, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports that there is “mutual interest” in Johnson putting on the purple and gold again:
Non hardship exemption 10-day contracts cannot be given out, per league rules, until Jan. 5. So Johnson cannot be with the Lakers on Tuesday against SAC. Also, Johnson's previous hardship 10-day contract does not count against him still signing up to two more 10-days with LAL https://t.co/af1iaq6gsV— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 4, 2022
As I wrote at length about shortly before this news dropped, there are a multitude of reasons that the Lakers would want to wait to re-sign Johnson, and that he’d be willing to wait on them. He’s just not likely to get a more appealing opportunity than this in the next 48 hours, and the Lakers could save a ton of money by waiting. As much as no fans want to hear about this team and money anymore, that’s just a reality.
So based on those truths, the tone of Dave’s tweets, and just how the Lakers have handled this so far, my guess is that it’s pretty unlikely that the Lakers will sign Johnson in time for their Tuesday game against the Sacramento Kings. All of it just makes it appear as though they are more likely to wait until Wednesday, when they can offer him another 10-day contract (unless they have a player enter the health and safety protocols before Tuesday’s game, in which case they’d likely just sign Johnson to a 10-day right away).
We’ll see how both sides ultimately handle this, but the big thing to take away here is that just because Johnson isn’t on the Lakers right now doesn’t mean he won’t be. It sounds like everyone involved realizes proceeding forward together is the best option for all parties, even if they have to wait a day or two to reunite.
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