BOISE, IDAHO -- Former Santa Cruz Warriors center Chris Johnson won't be returning to the D-League anytime soon.
Not this season, at least.
Johnson, a 6-foot-11, 210-pound center who played 14 games in Santa Cruz earlier this year, was signed through the end of the 2012-13 season by the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, ensuring he'll be a part of the big-league team for its remaining 35 games as well as any postseason appearances.
Johnson was the first call-up in Santa Cruz Warriors team history.
The move comes one day after Johnson completed his second 10-day contract with the T-Wolves. Rules stipulate that NBA teams, following the completion of the second 10-day contract, must either sign the player for the remainder of the season or release him.
Johnson's second 10-day contract came to an end on Thursday.
"I'm just trying to prove that I want to be here," Johnson told Timberwolves.com. "I want to belong here. I feel like I proved that in the last 20 days."
Johnson averaged 9.3 points on 22-of-30 shooting and 4.0 rebounds for the T-Wolves. In his first game with the team, on Jan. 19 against the Houston Rockets, he scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead the T-Wolves to a 92-79 victory.
Fans were chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P!" at one point.
"I can just play and not worry about if I'm going to be here. It helps out a lot," said Johnson, who can now play with peace of mind, to Timberwolves.com. "I can just focus on basketball and continue to keep working."
Although he won't be back in Santa Cruz (18-9) this season, Johnson's contract with the Timberwolves also benefits Santa Cruz, which plays at the Idaho Stampede on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Rules stipulate that when a player is called up and exceeds 21 consecutive days on an NBA roster, the D-League team moves up the waiver pool as a result.
Santa Cruz now sits in the No. 2 spot in the waiver pool behind Sioux Falls, which has owned the top selection ever since post Jarvis Varnado was signed by the Miami Heat last month for the remainder of the season.
The previous waiver-pool pick-up by the Warriors was Hilton Armstrong, who was acquired Jan. 18 and has since averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 24.4 minutes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.