Wesley Johnson has presented the Phoenix Suns with a decision to make this offseason.
An unrestricted free agent, the 25-year-old can sign with any team that wants him. And after the way he’s played lately, it’s likely the swingman will have a few suitors.
Johnson is averaging 13.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per night in 19 games as a starter, all while shooting .395 from three-point range. On the season, the former No. 4 pick is averaging 7.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Is this a case of a player finally landing in the right place to succeed, or is the recent uptick in play simply a fluke?
Suns analyst Tim Kempton says the team would probably like to bring Johnson back, but their best bet in doing so will come with them being honest with the player.
“Don’t try to blow smoke up their butt like ‘oh, you’re our number one priority’ and this and that, just tell them like it is,” Kempton told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Monday. “‘Hey Wes, you had a great second half of the season, we’d love to have you back as a free agent, we can’t offer you the farm, you’re here, you understand the situation; we need to add some more pieces so we can’t go overboard with you.'”
Kempton said if the team views Johnson as a player who has made significant strides in his first season with the team and is a player who could be a part of the team’s future, then it’s important for them to be clear with him and his role going forward.
“Then offer him a reasonable contract,” Kempton said, noting that could mean a two or three-year contract. “Give him a little bit of security…and deal with it from a point of honesty.”