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Pistons' Johnson signs for $2.58 million annually

Terry Foster
The Detroit News
Stanley Johnson

Auburn Hills -- Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson never talked about his desire to sign a contract with the Pistons.

He always talked about things that were more important to him, such as leading the Pistons to a championship and trying to lure free agents to the team. So it wasn't much of a surprise that he signed his rookie contract this week with the team.

Terms were not disclosed, but Johnson will make about $2.58 million in each of the next three seasons, according to the NBA rookie pay scale.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy never fretted about a holdout. He knew that Johnson was all in with the Pistons.

Johnson, a 6-foot-7 forward from the University of Arizona, was picked eighth by the Pistons in the first round of the NBA draft after averaging 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his only season with the Wildcats. He made a big push during the Orlando Summer League, drawing the praise of scouts and general managers from around the league after he averaged 16.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

Van Gundy said the Pistons went through hours of film evaluation beginning in December to target Stanley as their top choice. It became more than lip service when the Pistons bypassed Duke forward Justise Winslow and Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker to select Johnson.

"We were aways comfortable with Johnson being there," Van Gundy said.

Van Gundy said he liked Johnson because he has won titles from high school and helped Team USA win three gold medals in international youth competition.

Johnson is expected to come off the bench and play behind veteran Marcus Morris, who was obtained in a trade with the Phoenix Suns.

But Johnson says he will go to training camp with designs on starting for the Pistons.