With no NBA out clause, Ivan Johnson has signed a one-year contract with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, a league source told RealGM.
Johnson, the 6-foot-8 free agent forward, received interest throughout NBA free agency, and his four finalists were the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, a source said. He decided to accept a more lucrative deal in China – where he spent the 2011 season – instead of continuing to wait for an organization to enhance its offer.
Johnson also is hoping to take advantage of China’s shorter season and return to the States late in the NBA season, when teams will deal with possible injuries and look to add pieces.
There remains strong interest in Johnson, and the 29-year-old took a deal for one season in order to return next year. RealGM first reported on Aug. 16 that Johnson had started to seriously consider leaving the NBA for offers in China and Italy.
Johnson averaged 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds over two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, carving a role as an active, tough big man after bouncing around in his basketball career.