GM James Jones: Suns waived Tyler Johnson to open roster opportunities

Feb 10, 2020, 10:12 AM
Tyler Johnson #16 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game against the Philadelph...
Tyler Johnson #16 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Talking Stick Resort Arena on November 04, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the 76ers 114-109. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When the Phoenix Suns swapped Ryan Anderson’s girthy contract for Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington at the 2019 NBA trade deadline, it came with the expectation Johnson would pick up a $19.2 million option for 2019-20.

His contract gave Phoenix the ability get involved in big-time blockbuster trades for the remainder of Johnson’s deal, plus a steady veteran to start at point guard toward the end of 2018-19 — even if Johnson is naturally a combo scoring guard.

With Johnson in 2019-20 suffering through role changes, minor injuries and shooting slumps, the Suns decided to move on from the 27-year-old Sunday, a few days after the trade deadline passed.

The move opened a roster spot and gives Phoenix coach Monty Williams the chance to see what else he has on the roster. Additionally, it gives Johnson a chance to sign with a playoff-bound team after clearing waivers.

Suns general manager James Jones told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that the team did look at potential trades involving Johnson’s contract.

“We looked at it both ways going into the trade deadline, trying to explore opportunities to improve the team. Those situations didn’t materialize,” Jones said. “To Tyler’s credit, he’s been phenomenal — he’s been phenomenal with our guys. He worked every day, he put his body on the line. He’s a guy that plays only at one speed. After we got through the deadline, we thought about it and said, as we approach the All-Star break and approach the opportunity to get healthy coming out of the All-Star break, is there an opportunity for us to improve our team?

“If we have a roster spot where we can be opportunistic and start to pick and choose how we fill in the backend of our roster, we just thought it was the best for the team to allow him the opportunity to move on and to give guys like Cam (Johnson), Mikal (Bridges), Devin (Booker), Kelly (Oubre) opportunities to make more plays and be more vital in our rotation.”

Johnson had played between 10 and 18 minutes off the bench in the last games he’s appeared, but a knee injury made him unavailable for a small stretch as well.

He’s not played in the last four games as Williams has used a short bench that includes second-year guards Elie Okobo and Jevon Carter, plus rookie Ty Jerome.

Johnson averaged 5.7 points and 1.6 assists while shooting 38% overall and 29% from three-point range in 31 games this season.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MARCH 30: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the NBA game...
Nicholas Hodell

Suns G Chris Paul partners with Gopuff to assist underrepresented businesses

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul is helping underrepresented businesses and entrepreneurs through his partnership with Gopuff.
4 days ago
Credit: @cedceballos / Twitter...
Nicholas Hodell

Former Suns F Cedric Ceballos says he is COVID-19 free, but still in ICU

Former NBA player Cedric Ceballos tweeted on Sunday that he is COVID-19 free, but also that he is still recovering in an intensive care unit.
7 days ago
Photo by
Associated Press

Tech data shows Arizona’s busy sports gambling activity

"Arizona ... had more wagered online than mature states like Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee at the FanDuel Sportsbook,” a spokesman said.
8 days ago
Images of the FanDuel sportsbook inside Footprint Center. (Photo by
Associated Press

What to know as legal sports gambling begins in Arizona

Which in-person betting services are open Thursday? What other sportsbooks are still coming? And how did Arizona get here?
12 days ago
Photo by
Arizona Sports

Suns release images of FanDuel sportsbook at Footprint Center as betting opens in Arizona

See pictures inside the Phoenix Suns FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center. Legalized betting opens in Arizona on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.
12 days ago
Arizona Sports

Suns G Devin Booker featured on Kicks Magazine cover

Devin Booker studies the details. And in reading the featured story for SLAM's latest edition of KICKS Magazine, fans can get a sense of that.
13 days ago
GM James Jones: Suns waived Tyler Johnson to open roster opportunities