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Former Arizona star Stanley Johnson to become unrestricted free agent

The Pelicans declined his qualifying offer

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans have declined to extend a qualifying offer to Stanley Johnson, making the former Arizona Wildcats standout an unrestricted free agent on June 30, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Johnson was selected eighth overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft, but has yet to carve out a consistent role in the NBA.

For his career, Johnson is averaging 7.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game on a lackluster shooting line of .374/.293/.764, never averaging more than 8.7 points per game in a season.

The Pistons traded Johnson to the Pelicans during the 2018-19 season, and he averaged 5.3 points in 13.7 minutes per game in New Orleans.

The 23-year-old averaged 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in his lone season at Arizona. The former McDonald’s All-American was voted first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Had New Orleans extended a qualifying offer (worth roughly $5.3 million), Johnson would have been a restricted free agent this summer and the Pelicans would have had the right to match any offer.

Charania reports that Johnson will receive interest from several teams, partly because of his defensive ability. Johnson gained some notoriety in 2016 when he pestered LeBron James during the NBA Playoffs.

Maybe Johnson, from nearby Orange County, will join LeBron on the Lakers, who have a ton of roster spots to fill after gutting their team for Anthony Davis.

In the meantime, here is a funny story involving Johnson: