According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the team waited until Thursday to re-sign him so that they could agree to a regular 10-day contract and not one as a replacement player, thus saving money — and increasing flexibility — in the long run.
The Lakers will likely sign small ball big man Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract on Thursday, league sources told ESPN. Johnson, 25, recently completed a 10-day hardship exemption contract with LAL and the SoCal native made an impact with his on-ball defense and toughness— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 5, 2022
Johnson’s new deal will expire on Jan. 15, when the Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets on the road at 6:30 p.m., meaning that the team would likely have to sign him to a second 10-day deal for him to play in that game.
Johnson impressed right away in his time with the Lakers. Signed on Christmas Eve, Johnson made an immediate impact in the team’s Christmas Day matchup with the Brooklyn Nets and hasn’t exited the rotation since.
Even when the Lakers began returning to full health, not only did Johnson avoid being named an inactive like his fellow Christmas Eve 10-day signing Darren Collison, he still received big minutes. And while his impact was very rarely felt in terms of points, it was easily shown by his activity and energy.
Injuries and roster construction decisions left the Lakers without depth on the wing for much of the season. In that sense, Johnson stepped in and filled a huge void in the roster. That he was able to make such an immediate impact also shows how sorely his skillset was needed.
A Southern California native, Johnson returning home to make an impact on the Lakers is a feel-good story in its own right. And for a Lakers team that has needed some sort of spark for much of this season, the former lottery pick has been a welcome surprise after bouncing around the league so far during his young career.
The move to sign Johnson was also foreshadowed by the Lakers deal with the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday morning that saw the team send out Rajon Rondo without receiving a guaranteed contract in return. It was a trade that saved the team money, but also was clearly done to open up a roster space to sign Johnson after his impressive first 10 days with the team.
This developing story will update with more information and analysis.