Spurs sign Alize Johnson, coach Popovich holds team bonding night

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

Team additions and subtractions

As a result of waiving undrafted rookie Jordan Hall, the San Antonio Spurs front office announced that they had signed 26-year-old Alize Johnson to a one-year deal on Tuesday morning. 

With frontcourt players Jakob Poeltl and Jeremy Sochan sidelined due to quad injuries, the Spurs added some size to help down low after a successful season with the team’s developmental club, the Austin Spurs. The 6-foot-7 forward joined the team in Austin on Oct. 15 after playing four preseason games with San Antonio. While in the developmental league, Johnson averaged 22.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 59.8 percent from the floor. 

The Missouri State alum was drafted 50th overall to Indiana in the 2018 NBA draft and spent his first two seasons with the Pacers. After that, Johnson bounced around the last couple of years, appearing for the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans. While his NBA career average is 2.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, the Spurs in San Antonio are hoping his size will hold up in place of Poeltl and Sochan.

San Antonio also announced that they had waived Hall. The undrafted rookie out of St. Joseph’s was called up from Austin on Nov. 2. Hall played 9.1 minutes per game in the nine games he appeared with San Antonio. This move makes the Spurs roster stand at 17 players.

Team bonding event on the off day

After not having practice on Monday, Nov. 28, the Spurs held an event at La Cantera in San Antonio, where the team bused together to the movie theater to watch the movie “Till.” 

The film is based on a true story from 1955 when 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Mississippi. 

“It was really good,” forward Isaiah Roby said. “Me being from Illinois, I knew a lot about Emmett Till’s story already, but I think it was good for guys like Jeremy (Sochan) who are not from America and might not know the story.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has always been outspoken about social justice, and teaching the importance to his team to him is a higher priority than basketball.

“Pop informs us a lot on things that are going on outside of basketball, and I think that’s more important than what’s going on on the floor,” guard Doug McDermott said.

The Spurs have had a couple of days off to recover both mentally and physically following their 8-game skid. The team will hope with the time off and new additions to the roster, they will bounce back against Oklahoma City on Friday.