One of the NBA rosters that has seen a great deal of changes this off-season is that of the Atlanta Hawks. With the departure of Josh Smith into free agency this summer, several other players that were with the team last year have gone out on the market. One of those was forward Ivan Johnson.
The Hawks hadn’t expressed much interest in Johnson this summer, but the 29-year-old power forward had been in talks with the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers. However, Johnson won’t be enlisting his services with any of those teams or with any team in the NBA for that matter.
On Thursday it was announced that Johnson has agreed to a deal with Zhejiang Chouzhou, a basketball club in China, per Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York. Zwerling also included that no financial details have been released, but did say that the deal lasts only through the Chinese season, which means Johnson could return to the NBA before the end of this season.
In just his second NBA season, Johnson was relatively impressive in a limited role. In 69 games he averaged 6.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.8 steals in only 15 minutes per game while shooting a solid 52 percent from the floor. He was by no means a game-changer for Atlanta, but he provided steady production on both ends of the floor and also gave the team energy when he came off of the bench.
Playing in China for the start of the basketball season seems more like a financial decision than anything. When the Chinese season is over, though, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see Johnson back in the Association.
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