The Brooklyn Nets got their man, signing Tyler Johnson.
The rumors about Tyler Johnson and the Nets were true — in 2016, and again this week.
Word leaked early this week that Brooklyn was interested in signing recently-waived guard Tyler Johnson for the stretch run, an automatic bucket who was finally available at a discounted cost, following his exile from Phoenix. They’d have to deal with the Rockets to complete the deal, though — Houston was reportedly also heavily pursuing his services.
Johnson, once Brooklyn’s target before Miami matched his massive offer sheet back in ’16, has finally arrived, agreeing to join the Nets on Tuesday night.
Minutes after it was announced that Avery Bradley was opting out of participating in the Orlando restart, a guard option was taken off the table for the Los Angeles Lakers (albeit a far less defensive-minded one). Pettiness, or fate, based on Brooklyn’s seemingly-eternal pursuit of this particular asset?
The 31 games played and three starts made in 2019-20 were the worst of his career — he averaged just a middling 5.7 points and 28.9% from three in 16.6 minutes per game, failing to evolve with the modern game.
Regrettably, the arrival of Johnson appears to signal the end of fan favorite Theo Pinson.
Johnson is known as an attacking guard, however, and his initial $50 million deal signed back in 2016 wasn’t even initially looked down upon as a monstrous overpay. At the time, Johnson was seen as one of those crafty assets that Pat Riley seemingly always gets his hands on. Instead, the deal ended up looking bloated quite quickly, now paving the way for the Nets to get their man right on time, with Kyrie Irving’s scoring needing to be fully replaced, if not replicated.
Johnson had averaged over 10.5 points per game in the three seasons that preceded 2019, and just because Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn eclipsed his viability does not mean he won’t be good for something during Brooklyn’s short resumption. It’s an audition, and it’s a long time coming. Let’s see how it goes.