The Nets should target this cheap free agent instead of Tyler Johnson.
The Brooklyn Nets figure to be extremely busy this offseason as it pertains to reshuffling their roster as they prepare for a potential deep playoff run following the returns of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who didn’t contribute much of anything in 2019-20 after signing lucrative contracts last summer.
For general manager Sean Marks, the most notable question marks to address are the future of Joe Harris, who is slated for free agency, and whether he believes Caris Levert is good enough to be the team’s third star.
However, there’s also the future of a few bubble standouts, like Tyler Johnson, to consider. The 28-year-old guard averaged 11.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 19 minutes per game in Orlando. While Johnson certainly performed better than we expected, Brooklyn would simply be better off looking for alternative options on the open market, as his impressive production is not a match for their strapped cap situation.
In our eyes, somebody like Jeff Teague would be an ideal fit.
We caught some heat for saying the Nets shouldn’t be tricked into overpaying Johnson this offseason in light of his impressive play during the restart. That wasn’t so much a dig at the six-year veteran as it was a warning for the front office to avoid rewriting history.
During the summer of 2016, Brooklyn signed Johnson (then a free agent) to a four-year deal worth up to $50 million. However, the Miami Heat ultimately matched that offer and kept him. When all was said and done, he didn’t come close to living up to that contract.
Teague would undoubtedly be the smarter signing. For starters, the Nets already have enough players — Durant, Irving, LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie — that can create their own shot. Adding Johnson, a player who’s averaged 2.2 assists for his career, to the mix would make zero sense.
Teague, on the other hand, is a seasoned vet who relishes the opportunity to create for his teammates. He’s logged 5.2 assists per game across his 11-year career and is just one season removed from posting a career-high 8.2 assists per contest.
At this stage of his career, the former All-Star would be better suited coming off the bench and we believe he’d offer more than Garrett Temple, who has a $4.73 million club option for next season, as the leader of the team’s second unit.
The former first-round pick would not only be a potentially cheaper option than Johnson, but he’s a more logical fit in terms of what the Nets should be looking for (experience and playmaking) from their backup point guard under Steve Nash.