Raptors, James Johnson agree to 2-year contract

James Johnson is reportedly heading back to Toronto.
James Johnson is heading back to Toronto. (USATSI)

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The Toronto Raptors have reached an agreement with free agent James Johnson on a two-year contract, as first reported by CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish. The deal is for a total of $5 million, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

He previously played for the Raptors from February 2011 until the end of the 2011-2012 season. Johnson averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks and 0.8 steals in 18.4 minutes per game for the Memphis Grizzlies last year. 

Memphis had interest in re-signing Johnson, but he left for a return to Toronto. Utah and Houston had expressed interest too, sources said.

Johnson is the big, versatile defender Toronto needed, and he's become much more efficient on offense since his last stint with the team. He registered a career-high 55.2 percent true shooting percentage in Memphis. The combo forward would have helped the Raptors when the Brooklyn Nets' Joe Johnson was compromising their team defense in the playoffs. 

This signing might go under the radar, especially given that fellow Toronto reserves Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson were re-signed for three times the per-season salary, but Johnson addresses a major need on the roster and will allow head coach Dwane Casey to play around with various lineup combinations in the frontcourt.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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