Nets to Take Next Step in Securing Big Man for Foreseeable Future: Report

Alize Johnson

Getty Brooklyn's Alize Johnson fights for the ball with Utah's Mike Conley during a game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 24, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Nets made headlines this week with their signing of LaMarcus Aldridge, the seven-time All-Star who gives Brooklyn’s frontcourt an immediate boost — not to mention even more star power.

But the Nets’ signing of Aldridge isn’t the only move they plan to make this week to bolster the depth of their frontcourt.

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The Nets signed Alize Johnson to a 10-day contract on March 22 after the 6-foot-8 forward had emerged as an MVP candidate for the Raptors’ G-League affiliate, Raptors 905. After a solid first impression with Brooklyn, Johnson is set to stick around a little longer.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday reported that the Nets planned to sign Johnson to a second 10-day contract. The 24-year-old has played in only one game for the Nets, but he flashed his potential with 23 points and 15 rebounds against the Utah Jazz on March 24.

Johnson ‘Excited’ About Joining the Nets

Ahead of that performance against the Jazz, Johnson reflected on the moment he found out he was joining the Nets.

“I was sitting at home probably for a week after the (G League) bubble and I got the phone call from my agent and he told me I was going to be a Brooklyn Net,” Johnson said, via SNY. “I was excited just knowing the great group of guys they’ve got here.

Johnson is in his third NBA season, though he has only played 33 games and has scored a total of 70 career points. He was a second-round pick of the Pacers in 2018, after averaging 14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds in two years at Missouri State. He recorded 37 double-doubles in 66 games with the Bears. He began his collegiate career at a junior college, playing two seasons at Frank Phillips College in Texas.

He gained a foothold among NBA scouts in 2017 when he was invited to the Adidas Nations Tournament in Houston, and was named MVP, ahead of the likes of Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges and current Nets teammate Bruce Brown.

When he was drafted by Indiana, team president Kevin Pritchard said of Johnson, “Alize is a bulldog. We’ve known about him for a couple years.”

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Johnson Was an MVP Candidate in the G League

Johnson helped lead the Raptors G League affiliate, Raptors 905, to a 12-3 record during the league’s truncated season. He was a double-double machine, averaging 16.6 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, the second-most in the G League this season. He also averaged 4.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 32.1 minutes, and was efficient shooting the basketball with a 57/33/76 shooting line.

An impressive showing in the G League landed Johnson on several other NBA teams’ radar. The Magic, Rockets, Spurs and Suns were also interested in the services of Johnson, in addition to the Raptors, according to The Ringer.

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