CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The rebuilding Toronto Raptors got even younger on Tuesday by acquiring second-year forward James Johnson from the Chicago Bulls for a first-round pick in this year's draft.
The Raptors worked out the versatile former Wake Forest before the 2009 draft before the sophomore was selected by the Bulls with the 16th pick. The Raptors gave up the first round pick they acquired from Miami in the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade deal. They still own their own pick, which will almost certainly end up in the lottery.
"James Johnson is a strong, athletic and versatile small forward that we have had our eyes on dating to the 2009 draft," Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said in a statement.
The 6-foot-9 Johnson has had a limited impact, playing in 78 games over two seasons and averaging 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds. After failing to crack Chicago's rotation he recently served a stint in the NBA Development League.
Johnson could make his Toronto debut against his former team. The Raptors host Chicago on Wednesday night.
"I consider J.J. a little brother," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "He wasn't playing a lot. I hope he gets an opportunity to get out there on the court and show what kind of player he is."
While the surging Bulls get a late first-round draft pick, the move gives struggling Toronto another prospect as it starts over following Bosh's offseason departure.
Coach Jay Triano hinted earlier Tuesday that any moves the team makes before Thursday's trade deadline "would be to help this team in the future."
Johnson will join a team that was 15-41 before Tuesday's game against Charlotte.
"I always liked his game when he was at Wake Forest," said Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who was in the same draft class with Johnson. "You never know. It could work out great for him and be a great pickup for us. We hope so."
AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Deerfield, Ill., contributed to this report.