Sacramento Kings Free Agency: How James Johnson Fits on the Kings

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Sacramento Kings Free Agency: How James Johnson Fits on the Kings
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings traded a future second-round pick to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for forward James JohnsonMarc Stein of ESPN reported early Monday morning.

The Kings, in desperate need of depth at the small forward position, are receiving one who can score, defend and rebound—he averaged 9.7 points, 1.4 blocks and 4.7 rebounds per game last season. He also started 40 games for the Raptors last season.   

At 6'9", Johnson gives the Kings added size in their frontcourt, which should be a nice compliment to forwards DeMarcus CousinsThomas RobinsonJason Thompson and Chuck Hayes, and a relief for guard/forward Tyreke Evans, who can get back to playing more minutes at his natural guard position. 

Johnson's size and rebounding ability also compliment the Kings' need to get better at defending the paint and limiting opponents' second-chance opportunities—the Kings ranked 22nd last year in defensive rebounding.  

Johnson isn't a terribly good long-distance shooter—he shot only 31.7 percent from beyond the arc last year and has a career high of only two made in one game—but he converted 45 percent of his field goals last season and has done so fairly steadily in his three-year career.

Overall, Johnson should add some defensive toughness, additional scoring and small forward depth to the Kings, while providing little risk and no long-term obligation—Johnson is owed $2.8 million for the 2012-2013 season and will be in the final year of his contract, making him a restricted free agent thereafter.

Johnson most likely won't be the deciding factor in whether or not the Kings can compete for a playoff spot next season, but he should fit well on a team that needed to get older and tougher—something the Kings were not likely to find in a future second-round pick.    

Notes: Johnson was drafted 16th by the Chicago Bulls out of Wake Forest in 2009, the same year Evans was drafted fourth by the Kings. The Bulls traded Johnson to Toronto in his second season.

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