EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The pay in China, Ivan Johnson said, is great.
It’s everything else that’s a problem.
“The food. They don’t cook it all the way through,” Johnson said Wednesday after auditioning for the Brooklyn Nets at their free-agent minicamp. “The rooms smell like [a] sewer. There’s a lot of stuff you gotta deal with over there. I dealt with it, though. I had to.”
Johnson’s advice for free agents looking to go overseas?
“If you're in it just for the money, go to China,” he said. “If you want to fulfill your dreams, keep grinding. Keep grinding and you’ll get there.”
Johnson, a 30-year-old journeyman forward, played for the Atlanta Hawks from 2011 to 2013. He played last season with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.
“I was close to signing with a lot of [NBA teams],” Johnson said. “Most of the teams were trying to give me the minimum. I got two little boys, 1 and 2, so I had to have the money.”
But after his dreadful experience in China, Johnson doesn’t want to go overseas again.
He wants back in the NBA. And he says there’s a chance he’ll take the minimum this time if it’s all he gets offered.
“See last year, I just had had my second little son and I needed money to be comfortable, so that's why I went,” Johnson said. “I’m comfortable now, so I can come grind in the NBA.”
Johnson had an offer, he said, from the New York Knicks during the season, but money was the issue.
Asked how he played in Wednesday’s scrimmages, Johnson replied: “Played all right. It was kind of wild today ... I got kneed in my left knee, kneed in my right thigh. I did all right, though.”
So what’s next?
“I got a Cleveland workout, Spurs workout, Pacers, Clippers and there's another team in there, I forgot,” he said.