Cam Johnson ready for upcoming process, extension talks with Phoenix Suns

Jun 23, 2022, 11:20 AM
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter at Crypto.com Arena on April 06, 2022 ...
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter at Crypto.com Arena on April 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Cam Johnson is a smart guy. He’s also got the benefit of having two Phoenix Suns teammates that just went through what he’s about to this summer and fall.

Johnson, the No. 11 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is soon eligible for a contract extension off his rookie deal. Mikal Bridges got a four-year, $90 million agreement done shortly before the deadline in mid-October. Deandre Ayton did not, and he’s now a restricted free agent.

Johnson is aware this is not a right-now thing for him to stress over.

“No, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that got to happen before that,” he said Wednesday prior to JaVale McGee’s sixth annual Water For Life Charity Softball Game at Chase Field. “Even if you talk about the stuff with DA, that’s obviously more at the forefront with things. I trust that whatever is meant to happen will happen.”

Johnson confirmed he has talked to Bridges about the experience, a wise choice to get another perspective.

“Mikal, from what he’s told me, is pretty detached from the process, letting it figure out itself,” he said. “Just knowing what he wants, knowing what he wants out of his career.”

Johnson went on to allude to how Bridges signing that extension is a situation where Bridges could have gone to restricted free agency to seek out even more money. And not to say that Johnson won’t do that, but Johnson loves Phoenix and his team just like Bridges.

“He got a great deal,” Johnson said of Bridges. “And if he would have wanted to receive the greatest that he known he could have got but I do think he enjoys being here and got a deal that is good for him, and in a lot of ways right now, good for the team. And we’re building something here, something that I love being a part of and I keep that in mind.”

Johnson, like his twin, is the type of player that every NBA team covets. He can guard multiple positions at 6-foot-8, was the fourth-best 3-point shooter in the NBA last season at 42.6%, plays his tail off and is a high IQ player that got better every season.

There’s a chance the fallout from the Ayton situation impacts Johnson’s future in Phoenix.

If Ayton is back with the Suns, that would have them down for expensive long-term contracts with Ayton, Bridges, Devin Booker and Chris Paul for next season that would almost certainly be Phoenix’s first year in the luxury tax.

And while Paul’s deal becomes partially guaranteed in 2023-24, the same year Johnson’s potential extension would start to kick in, Booker is eligible for a supermax extension that would begin with him earning $47.1 million in 2024-25.

The type of hypothetical luxury tax bill the Suns could have in a few years with Ayton, Booker, Bridges and Johnson is one we’ve seen only a few teams pay in the past.

Those are also four extremely valuable (and young) players, and with the direction the NBA keeps trending in with the importance of wings, it’s hard to overstate how much it would mean for the Suns to have both Bridges and Johnson long term.

Penguin Air

Empire of the Suns

Phoenix Suns' Mikal Bridges, left, celebrates after a basket during the second half of an NBA baske...
Kellan Olson

Mikal Bridges goes supernova in OT Phoenix Suns win vs. Spurs

If the Phoenix Suns finish a game ahead of another team in the Western Conference standings, remember their OT victory over the Spurs.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) dishes off as Dallas Mavericks forward Davis Bertans (44) defends...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns squander opportunity against Doncic-less Mavericks

Luka Doncic's injury gave the Phoenix Suns a great opportunity at a win on Thursday but they fell apart against the Dallas Mavericks.
3 days ago
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the second half of the NBA game at Fo...
Kellan Olson

Mikal Bridges’ successful trial by fire is what both he and Suns needed

Injuries forced the Phoenix Suns to use small forward Mikal Bridges as a ball-handler and it has paid off in a big way.
5 days ago
Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier tries to slip past Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, left, and Ph...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns take care of business, pick up 4th straight win vs. Hornets

The Phoenix Suns need to, as their point guard Chris Paul says, start to pile on wins. They are now doing just that.
5 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) runs away from Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) during the ...
Kellan Olson

Suns hold off Grizzlies’ comeback, Chris Paul’s return sparks 3rd straight win

The return of Chris Paul got the Phoenix Suns a surprising win over the Memphis Grizzlies to make it three in a row.
8 days ago
Phoenix Suns' Josh Okogie (2) goes to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Buddy Hield (24) during th...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns’ unheralded reserves step up big in win over Pacers

The Phoenix Suns' players on the back half of the bench have had no choice but to step up and they did on Saturday in a win.
9 days ago
Cam Johnson ready for upcoming process, extension talks with Phoenix Suns