Sep 14, 2012, 1:39 PM EST
Ivan Johnson will be back with the Atlanta Hawks next season, one of their key bigs off the bench, but he will be a free agent next summer.
After being unable to find a better offer in a tight market, Johnson has signed the qualifying offer the Hawks extended, reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com. That means Johnson will make $962,195 this season and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Johnson, a 6’8” power forward out of Oregon, turned heads last year during his rookie season with some very solid play. He gave the Hawks 6.3 points and 4 rebounds a game in 16 minutes a game off the bench and showed a deft touch around the rim. He was strong on the defensive glass. He had a PER of 14.9, basically right at the league average, which is good for a rookie. Even a 28-year-old rookie.
Johnson was not able to parlay that into an offer from another team, in part because he was a restricted free agent and other teams expected the Hawks would match. So he signed the only offer on the table and will return to the Hawks.
But if he has a season that builds on the past one, he’s going to have more options next summer.
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