JUNE 24: The Nets’ deal with Johnson is now official, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
JUNE 23: The Nets have agreed to a deal with free agent guard Tyler Johnson, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter). The club is waiving Theo Pinson to clear a spot on the roster for Johnson, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).
Johnson, 28, was sent from Miami to Phoenix at the 2019 trade deadline and appeared in 44 total games for the Suns, including 31 this season. Formerly a solid rotation player with the Heat, Johnson had a down year in Phoenix in 2019/20, averaging just 5.7 PPG and 1.6 APG on .380/.289/.750 shooting in 16.6 minutes per contest.
After not finding a deal that used his expiring contract at the trade deadline in February, the Suns waived Johnson a few days later. He has been a free agent since then, though he reportedly drew some interest from the Rockets as well before reaching an agreement with Brooklyn.
As Wojnarowski points out (via Twitter), the Nets were the team that signed Johnson in 2016 to his four-year, $50MM offer sheet (which Miami matched), so they’ve had their eye on him for a while. He’ll help provide depth in a backcourt that will be missing Kyrie Irving when play resumes this summer.
Because injured players aren’t eligible to be replaced by “substitute players” this summer, the Nets had to open up a spot on their 15-man roster in order to add any reinforcements to a roster that will also be without Kevin Durant. They’ll open up that spot by cutting Pinson, a move they confirmed in a press release on Tuesday night.
Pinson, 24, got a guaranteed contract from the Nets this season, but struggled to produce, averaging 3.6 PPG on 2.90/.188/.938 shooting in 33 games (11.1 MPG). The former UNC shooting guard had a minimum-salary team option for 2020/21, so Brooklyn won’t be on the hook for any guaranteed money beyond this season.