Cam Johnson never had a reason to think the Suns might move him this summer, but that changed when news broke about Kevin Durant‘s trade request. In an interview with Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, Johnson talks about his reaction to hearing rumors that he might be sent to Brooklyn in a Durant deal.
“I’m like, nah man, don’t put me in this,” Johnson recalled. “And next thing you know, whoever it was, Windy (ESPN’s Brian Windhorst) or somebody on the TV was like naming the potential trade targets. Naming DA (Deandre Ayton), me, Mikal (Bridges). And I was like, come on man, but it’s the business. Like I said, it’s the business. If that’s something that gets done, then that was just part of God’s plan and you’ve got to keep on rolling. But like I said, you’ve got to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and try to win a championship and then on the flip side, we’ve got to do what’s in our best interests to further our careers and try to be our best selves.”
Johnson has been part of two very successful seasons in Phoenix, with the Suns reaching the NBA Finals in 2021 and then posting the league’s best record this year. However, this season had a bittersweet ending with a 33-point loss to Dallas in Game 7 of Western Conference semifinals. Johnson said the sting of that humiliation still hasn’t worn off.
“The silver lining is that you get an extra chip on your shoulder,” he said. “They’re adding up, too, I tell you that much, and it gives you motivation for every workout in the morning and every extra lift, whatever it may be. It’s like, we did get pounded in a Game 7 and yes, that was embarrassing.”
Johnson addresses a few other topics in the lengthy interview:
The rookie scale extension that he’s eligible to receive this offseason:
“There’s a business side of it which you open your eyes to and then there’s the personal side of it which you have to open your eyes to. There’s always a balance between the two. Definitely as the summer goes on, and we can call a spade a spade. All these trade rumors going around. That’s the business side of it and you have to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and you have to expect individual people, in turn, to do what’s in their best interests, but the bottom line is I’ve really loved my time here and if we can get something done, I’d be very happy about it.”
The Suns’ decision to match Indiana’s four-year, $133MM offer sheet for Ayton:
“It’s awesome. I’m so happy for him. He deserved it. And the money is one thing, but just having him back on the team and the opportunity to continue to build what we have been building is a lot of fun, but he deserves every penny of that. I’m so glad that this organization was able to keep him. I’ve really enjoyed playing with him the past three years and the sky’s really the limit for him.”
The prospect of another season with the same core roster:
“I’d love it. I’d love it. I think there is something to be said about continuity. I think there’s so much that we’ve learned in games from Year 1 to Year 2 to Year 3, I just think back to my rookie year of training camp and from a bird’s eye view, just how basic everything was that we’re talking about and how much it develops and changes as we progress. So, I think that continuity for us is huge.”