NBA Rumor: James Johnson Free Agency

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Heat forward James Johnson, who becomes a free agent early Saturday morning, said Friday that he would like to remain with the Heat and is willing to wait out a decision by Jazz free agent Gordon Hayward – Miami’s top target – even if the Heat has to put Johnson’s situation on hold for several days. “I’m a patient guy,” Johnson told me at DJ Irie’s annual golf tournament to benefit the Irie Foundation. “They can take as long as they want. My mindset is winning. I think Hayward can help us win and I’m all for it.

Heat forward James Johnson, who becomes a free agent early Saturday morning, said Friday that he would like to remain with the Heat and is willing to wait out a decision by Jazz free agent Gordon Hayward – Miami’s top target – even if the Heat has to put Johnson’s situation on hold for several days. “I’m a patient guy,” Johnson told me at DJ Irie’s annual golf tournament to benefit the Irie Foundation. “They can take as long as they want. My mindset is winning. I think Hayward can help us win and I’m all for it. They brought me here for a reason and I know they’re going after Hayward for a reason and I think his statistics and his numbers that he [produces], he fits in the best here.

During an appearance on WTVJ-Miami’s Sports Final on Sunday night, Johnson was asked if he felt the Heat would reciprocate the love he’s expressed for them in free agency. “I think the Heat already did plenty for me and even more than that,” Johnson said Sunday. “Just giving me the stage to work on and the opportunity to go out there and to become the best player I can be. They definitely gave me that stepping stone or eight stepping stones. For me, I feel like they did already more than what I had asked them or thought they would do. Anything after that, I’m truly grateful for the Miami Heat and I’m truly honored to be a part of it and hopefully it keeps on going.”

When asked Sunday if he would give the Heat a hometown discount in free agency, Johnson was non-committal in his answer but seemed to hint that it was a possibility. “I love this place so much and the opportunity they gave me, I couldn’t thank them enough,” Johnson said when asked about the possibility of signing with the Heat for less than market value. “Down the line, it’s hard in this phase of my career to try to find somewhere that you call home or you want it to be home and things like that. So you know the love I have for this team is up there. But it’s just something I got to let the agent and Pat discuss and try to figure out, and then just give my last say so at the end.”

James has made it known that he wants to return to the Heat and could even be willing to take less money to be back in Miami. But Tyler understands the business. “I couldn’t imagine him leaving or going somewhere else,” Tyler said. “But at the same time, that being my brother, I only want the best for him. And I remember how close everything came for me last summer. So you never know. But obviously we definitely, we all want him back.”
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