NBA Rumor: Tyler Johnson Free Agency

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And unless something significant changes, it’s increasingly likely the Heat will need to wait until the summer of 2020, not 2019, to again be in position to make a franchise-altering free agent signing. That wasn’t necessarily the plan. The Heat has tried to move Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson this offseason but has not found a trade market, according to three people in contact with the team. Dion Waiters’ name also has been raised, one of these people said.

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have matched the contract of restricted free agent Tyler Johnson. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We are extremely happy to re-sign Tyler,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “He, Hassan, Justise and Josh have grown together as an exciting, athletic, highly skilled young core over the last couple of years. They are going to have a tremendous opportunity this season and we are looking forward to watching them play together on the floor.”x

Once Johnson, 24, signs the offer sheet at the end of the free-agent signing moratorium on Thursday, the Heat will have three days to match the offer and retain Johnson – or let him leave for the Nets. For Johnson, the contract represents one of the most rapid financial ascensions in recent league history: From an undrafted NBA Development League guard in 2015, to participating in only 68 games over parts of the past two seasons, to a staggering poison-pill contract that guarantees seasons of $18 million-plus and $19 million-plus in the final two years of the deal.

Unlike with Whiteside, Tyler Johnson will be a restricted free agent (not unrestricted) next summer, allowing the Heat to match other offers. Under the Gilbert Arenas rule, no team can offer Johnson more than the equivalent of the $6 million mid-level exception next season. The good news is that Miami can exceed the cap to sign Johnson, provided his salary begins at no more than 104.5 percent of the NBA’s average salary of just over $6 million. And there’s no reason to start Johnson above that amount, because other teams can’t offer even that, let alone more than that.
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