Years from now, at some random music festival, someone is going to win the day while sporting their vintage pinstriped Dakari Johnson jersey.
The Orlando Magic made a minor move Friday afternoon, acquiring Johnson from the Oklahoma City Thunder. And by the time you sit down to read this article, Johnson very well could already be waived.
Oklahoma City is trading Dakari Johnson to the Orlando Magic, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 20, 2018
Johnson, a Brooklyn native, played his high school ball at Montverde Academy in Orlando (his senior year). The McDonald’s All-American played two seasons at Kentucky (2013-2015) before declaring for the NBA Draft in ‘15.
The 22-year old was drafted 48th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and spent two seasons in the D-League playing for the Oklahoma City Blue (the Thunder’s affiliate organization).
As @ShamsCharania is reporting, the Magic have agreed to trade Rodney Purvis to Oklahoma City for Dakari Johnson and cash, a league source confirmed. I expect the Magic then to waive Johnson. Purvis had no chance of making ORL's roster. So this deal for Orlando is about the cash.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) July 20, 2018
The Magic sent back Rodney Purvis to Oklahoma City in the deal. The 24-year old shooting guard had a non-guaranteed contract for the upcoming ‘18-’19 season. Purvis, who played the majority of last season with the Lakeland Magic, agreed to a two-year non-guaranteed contract with Orlando late last March after playing out two consecutive 10-day contracts. Purvis averaged 6.0 points on 33% shooting (25% 3PT%).
It’s widely assumed that the Magic will choose to waive Johnson, who is owed just under $1.4 million guaranteed this season. At this moment, the Magic already have four centers on their roster, not including Johnson (Nikola Vucevic, Mohamed Bamba, Khem Birch, and Timofey Mozgov).
The Thunder, who are currently in the luxury tax, made this move in an effort to ultimately waive Purvis (non-guaranteed contract) and save upwards of $3 million dollars.
Johnson, who was named to the All-NBA D-League First Team in ‘16-’17, averaged 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds in 31 appearances last season.
With Johnson, the Magic have 14 guaranteed contracts heading into next season (Isaiah Briscoe has a partially guaranteed contract). If Orlando does choose to waive the 7-0 foot big man, they would leave open one roster spot for additional flexibility moving forward in free agency, via a trade, etc.
The Magic are also receiving cash considerations from the Thunder. So, there’s that.
At least for now, until something else is announced, one-third of Orlando’s roster plays center.