Just when we thought Ivan Johnson was turning the corner and getting his life together – this from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Hawks blog:
The Hawks sent forward Ivan Johnson back to Atlanta for conduct detrimental to the team. Johnson, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, will miss tonight’s game against the Magic. Johnson was sent home for verbal altercation on the bench during Wednesday’s game against Boston. He did fly to Orlando from Boston with the team after the game before being sent home to Atlanta.
Johnson is expected to re-join the team Saturday for a scheduled practice.
Hawks coach Larry Drew declined to expand on the disciplinary action, or the reason for it, following this morning’s shoot-around.
“We made a decision to discipline him by sending him home, fining him and we will move on,” Drew said.
Johnson, a 27-year-old NBA rookie, has had issues in the past.
He washed out after one season of run-ins with coach Ernie Kent at Oregon.
After one year at Division II Cal State-San Bernardino, Johnson played a season in the NBA Development League before joining the Korean Basketball League. That opportunity ended last year when the KBL banned Johnson after he reportedly made an obscene gesture at a game official. He headed back to the D-League where he was named first-team all-league, but volatile enough to lead the league in technical fouls. Johnson‘s coach with the Erie BayHawks eventually benched him for his behavior.
“With me, no it’s not a concern,” Drew said of Johnson’s documented disciplinary issues. “Isolated incident. If it were anybody else we would have taken the same measure. I spoke to him before he left. We had a good conversation. It was like I told him, we will do what we have to do. He will miss tonight’s game. We will see him when we get back to Atlanta. We are moving on.”
Athletes with Johnson’s past don’t always get a shot in the NBA, much less two. Let’s hope he wises up after this incident because he may not get another chance. And he has played well enough to warrant a contract past this season.