Before the start of 2019 NBA free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers officially extended a qualifying offer to Johnathan Williams, which made him a restricted free agent.
As part of the two-way deal with the team’s G League affiliate South Bay Lakers, the 24-year-old averaged 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 15.5 minutes and played an important role to conclude the 2018-19 NBA season.
However, Williams’ future with the Lakers was tied to who they could sign beginning on June 30. Unfortunately, the Lakers rescinded their qualifying offer to him on July 6.
Now, Williams reportedly has signed with Maccabi Rishon LeZion, according to John Askounis of EuroHoops:
Maccabi Rishon LeZion penned Johnathan Williams for the 2019-20 season, the Israeli side announced on Tuesday. The 24-year-old American forward will help his new team in the 7DAYS EuroCup. The second season of his professional career brings him to Israel’s Super League and the rest of the country’s domestic tournaments. Maccabi Rishon LeZion will compete in EuroCup as well.
Rishon LeZion also announced the signing, via Twitter:
מועדון הכדורסל מכבי ״מתחם ה-1000״ ראשון לציון שמח וגאה להודיע על החתמתו של הפורוורד סנטר ג׳ונתן וויליאמס לעונת המשחקים 2019/20. pic.twitter.com/L2ApV6VXI1
— Maccabi Rishon (@maccabirishon) July 30, 2019
While there are no details at this time, Williams ultimately chose to play internationally instead of the G League heading into the 2019-20 season. Although the league has made strides in helping players reach the big stage, they typically do get paid more on the international stage.
As Williams takes his talents to Israel, there is plenty of excitement in Los Angeles. Highlighted by the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers re-signed JaVale McGee and signed DeMarcus Cousins to significantly improve at center.
Since the Lakers are one of the bigger teams in the league, much of the attention will be on head coach Frank Vogel’s potential rotations and if he will start Cousins or not.