The Brisbane Bullets have signed Orlando Johnson as the team's first import for the 2020-21 NBL season.
Johnson, a 6'5 wing out of California, played more than 100 games in the NBA -- spending time with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans -- before taking his career abroad.
The 31-year-old's most recent stint was with BC Avtodor in Russia's VTB United League, averaging 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
"I'm really excited," Johnson said of signing with the Bullets. "They (Brisbane) said we need a guy who will be able to shoulder a heavy load and be one of the main guys... I told them how ready I was and how much I've been working.
"I told them I was looking to be a focal point and a guy who can lead a team and that's what they're looking for. I think this is going be the start of something really special.
"When I first heard about it (the NBL) and saw it, I saw how exciting these games are and that's something I want to be a part of."
The 36th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Johnson joins Harry Froling, Will Magnay, Matt Hodgson, Anthony Drmic, Jason Cadee, Nathan Sobey, Tyrell Harrison, Tanner Krebs, and Tamuri Wigness on the Bullets' roster for the upcoming season.
While Magnay is currently on the Bullets' roster, the team is moving forward in NBL free agency with the assumption that he won't be part of their 2020-21 season, sources told ESPN. Magnay has significant NBA interest, sources said, with the centre's camp confident he'll earn a guaranteed deal once Free Agency opens on November 20.
Johnson is widely regarded as a replacement for Lamar Patterson, who signed with the New Zealand Breakers over the off-season, with the Bullets having made calls about bringing in an import power forward to replace Magnay, sources said. That final import signing would round out the Bullets' roster for the upcoming season.
"Orlando brings with him a wealth of experience, having played over 100 NBA games, another 100 games in the G-League and more than 50 games in high level European Leagues," Bullets head coach, Andrej Lemanis, said.
"He has shown that he is a versatile player who is prepared to help teams succeed at both ends of the court. He has a great basketball IQ and a toughness that will add value to our team.
"The interview with Orlando is one of the best I have ever been involved with; his honesty and humility really struck a chord with the coaching staff and his understanding of how teams succeed was evident the more we spoke. We got off that call as a staff and said, 'He's our guy'."