According to a report from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, the Oklahoma City Thunder has signed center Dakari Johnson to a guaranteed two-year contract.
Drafted 48th overall out of Kentucky in the 2015 NBA Draft, the 21-year-old Johnson has spent the last two seasons playing for the Oklahoma City Blue — the Thunder’s G-League affiliate. He averaged 18.5 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Blue last season, en route to being named a D-League All-Star and All-NBA D-League First Team member.
More recently Johnson starred for the Thunder at Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 18 points, 5.5 rebounds and displaying an ability to handle the basketball that most fans were previously unaware of.
By signing Johnson to a two-year deal, the Thunder now has 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster — a total that will rise to 15 should Terrance Ferguson sign his rookie deal (he’s the last remaining first rounder not to do so). This could could all leave Semaj Christon on the outside looking in, as the point guard’s contract was set to remain un-guaranteed through the end of training camp. As it stands, there is simply no room for him.
However, due to the new two-way contracts now available to NBA front offices, Christon could conceivably hang around a while longer. Via Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript:
“With the implementation of the two-way contract — allowing players to go up and down from the G-league at the NBA team’s leisure without counting against the 15-man roster, cap or luxury tax — organizations can get more creative with their roster building. If the Thunder waive Christon before his contract guarantees, they would be allowed to sign him to a two-way deal. “
It’s yet to be seen how Sam Presti manages the back end of the roster, but the Thunder move forward with Johnson firmly in place behind Steven Adams and Enes Kanter on the depth chart. Johnson’s two-year deal doesn’t necessarily mean there are any plans for trading Kanter, but allowing him to develop further behind NBA talent should pay dividends in the event he’s thrust into action for any reason.
Here are his highlights from the Blue last season: