The Lakers lead the NBA with 10 players on expiring deals, and Wesley Johnson is one of those 10, meaning he doesn’t necessarily have a future in Los Angeles beyond 2014. However, as he tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld, Johnson is hoping this isn’t his only season as a Laker.
“This is definitely a place I want to be,” Johnson said. “I love Los Angeles. I love the organization. I love the people that I’ve been around since I’ve been there. I definitely think this could be a long-term thing. We just have to wait and see.”
Much has been made of the Lakers’ desire to preserve cap space for next summer. Even after extending Kobe Bryant, the team should have more than enough room to fit either a max free agent, or multiple second- or third-tier free agents. Still, Johnson is earning the minimum salary this season, and if he’s content with signing for that amount again next year, the club’s cap space wouldn’t be compromised. L.A. will also hold Johnson’s Non-Bird rights at year’s end, which would allow the club to pay him slightly more than the minimum on a contract up to four years.
Johnson, 26, is off to the best start of his four-year NBA career this season, averaging 8.3 PPG and shooting 40.5% on threes in 25 contests for the Lakers. The former fourth overall pick attributes his relative success in the early going to Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, as he tells Greene.
“He told me to just worry about playing basketball,” Johnson said. “He said if you play aggressive and play hard you can pretty much do what you want out there as long as you play hard. So I definitely feel a lot more comfortable out there than I have the last few years.”