With the NBA trade deadline in the rearview mirror and the buyout market coming to a screaming halt, many NBA teams now have a couple of open roster spots to sign a player from the NBA G-League to either a two-way or 10-day contract.
In the cases of local players B.J. Johnson and Tahjere McCall, they finally got their call-up to the big leagues on Tuesday. McCall, who played for the Long Island Nets (G-League affiliate of Brooklyn Nets) over the last two seasons, was officially signed to a 10-day contract by Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Johnson, however, who is a rookie with the Lakeland Magic (G-League affiliate of the Orlando Magic), will reportedly sign a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks per Chris Vivlamore of Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Johnson has flourished with Lakeland, playing well along Amile Jefferson and Troy Caupain, both players who have signed two-way contracts with Orlando.
In 37 games this season, the former La Salle University standout is averaging 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 30 minutes per game. He is also shooting 47.2-percent from the field and 43.3-percent from three-point range on 4.3 attempts per game.
Before Johnson joined Lakeland, he was with the Orlando Magic for training camp. Orlando then waived him and assigned him to their G-League affiliate.
A couple of months prior to joining the Magic, the former Lower Merion High School also spent some time with the Charlotte Hornets in the Las Vegas Summer League.
The 6-foot-7 guard had an outstanding final two seasons at La Salle, after transferring from Syracuse University. In his senior year, Johnson averaged a career-high 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 35.2 minutes per games.
McCall, who went undrafted just like Johnson, has made the most of his opportunities in the G-League. In his first two seasons with the Nets, the former Engineering and Science product has worked both on his offensive and defensive skills.
This season, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard is averaging 10.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 steals in 25.3 minutes per game. McCall has shown a willingness to put the ball on the floor and take the open jump shot when it is available, which is a vast improvement from his rookie season.
As a rookie, the former Tennessee State product averaged 9.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.8 steals in 28.2 minutes per game.
Before joining the Nets, McCall played his college ball at both Niagara University and Tennessee State. The defensive-minded guard spent the first two years at Niagara and last two at Tennessee State.
At Tennessee State, McCall took his game to another level, winning Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and making first team All-OVC two consecutive years.