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Reports: Former Gonzaga standout Johnathan Williams nears return to NBA

Johnathan Williams, shown playing with Houston in the NBA summer league, is reportedly joining the Washington Wizards. (JOHN LOCHER / AP)
Johnathan Williams, shown playing with Houston in the NBA summer league, is reportedly joining the Washington Wizards. (JOHN LOCHER / AP)

Former Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Johnathan Williams is close to returning to the NBA, according to multiple reports.

Williams is expected to sign with the Washington Wizards, provided the NBA team receives a second hardship exception as expected, the Athletic’s Fred Katz tweeted.

Washington’s roster has been decimated by injuries, including former Zag Rui Hachimura suffering a groin injury last Monday. Williams and Hachimura were teammates on Gonzaga’s 2017 team that lost to North Carolina in the national championship.

Washington on Monday announced the signing of Gary Payton II with one hardship exception. Teams can pursue a hardship exception if they have an extensive number of injuries that impacts their ability to field a competitive roster.

Williams played in 24 games as a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He also played in 36 games for the G League South Bay Lakers.

The 6-foot-9 forward played for Houston in the NBA summer league before signing with Maccabi Rishon in Israel. Williams averaged 11.8 points and 9.1 boards in 18 games for Rishon.

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