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Johnsen signs with Magic

The former Ute likes his chances of making NBA

Britton Johnsen's dream of making the NBA is closer, but the former Ute forward still has a lot of work left to be playing in the league this year.

Johnsen signed a "partial guarantee" contract with the Orlando Magic Thursday, which means he will get a nice paycheck even if he doesn't make the 12-man roster. Johnsen will be among 20 players in the Magic camp next month trying to make the team.

After playing with Orlando and Washington teams in summer leagues, Johnsen returned to Salt Lake City for a month and a half before going to Orlando a week ago. Contacted Friday at his condo in Orlando, where he lives with his wife, Lindsey, Johnsen said he feels he has a decent chance of making the Magic.

"There are a few spots open and I've been told good things by the coaches," said Johnsen. "I had to make a decision about a month ago and when they offered me this contract, I decided to take the chance."

Johnsen has other options, including playing overseas in a European League or perhaps playing in the NBA Developmental League if he doesn't stick with the Magic.

"I definitely want to stay in the NBA, but I could maybe even make even more money by going overseas," he said.

One thing going against Johnsen is the fact that three rookies, Reece Gaines, Keith Bogans and Zaza Pachulia, have already received guaranteed contracts with the Magic.

Johnsen gives credit to his agent, Mark Bartlestein for getting him an opportunity with the Magic after not getting drafted in June. "My agent has done everything for me," he said.

Johnsen averaged 12 points, 4.3 rebounds and two steals for the Magic's summer league team. However the highlight of his summer came in a game against Cleveland when he made a huge dunk over No. 1 draft choice LeBron James that actually was ESPN Sportscenter's "Play of the the Day."

"When I got back to Utah, that's all anyone wanted to talk about," Johnsen said with a laugh.

Other players with non-guaranteed contracts invited to the Orlando camp include former Jazz guard John Crotty, Shammond Williams, Derrick Dial, Rick Apodaca, Alton Ford and Ousmane Cisse.


E-mail: sor@desnews.com