Suns forward Cameron Johnson hoped to sign a rookie scale extension before the deadline passed on Monday, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. He says he’s still focused on the task at hand.
“I would’ve loved to have come to a conclusion,” Johnson said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I love it here, but the fact of the matter is that I’m here for this year and that is what I’m focused on. I’m excited. We’ve got a good group. We’ve had a good group and we want to win a championship.”
The 26-year-old, who will be a restricted free agent next summer, suggested that the tenuous ownership situation played a factor in negotiations
“Negotiations are interesting, especially when ownership is unclear,” said Johnson, a reference to majority owner Robert Sarver announcing his intention to sell the team after backlash from an NBA investigation into his behavior within the organization.
“Extremely interesting,” Johnson continued. “Once you see that the situation is what it is, you can get over it relatively quickly and just be excited for the opportunity that’s been put in front of you.”
Johnson exited the team’s 107-105 comeback victory over Dallas early in the fourth quarter with right quad cramps, but he said he should be good to go for Friday’s contest at Portland, Rankin relays in another story for The Arizona Republic.
Here’s more from the Pacific:
- Not reaching an extension with Johnson feels like a missed opportunity for the Suns to put “some of the negativity and uncertainty of the offseason” in the rear-view mirror, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports, who notes that Johnson could raise his stock significantly as a full-time starter in 2022/23. As Bourguet writes, failing to secure Johnson as a long-term fixture of the team’s core after Deandre Ayton‘s messy restricted free agency over the summer makes it seem like the Suns didn’t learn how protracted contract negotiations can negatively impact players.
- Kings head coach Mike Brown says he’s focused on ending the team’s 16-year playoff drought, which is an NBA record. “We love the fans. We do. And they’re great fans, but even if the fans didn’t feel like we needed to make the playoffs, I’m not here to coach regular-season games. It’s just as simple as that,” he said (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee).
- Brown and center Domantas Sabonis have helped improve the Kings‘ vibes and culture, writes Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. Brown has brought consistent energy and a “serious-yet-playful” personality to the team, while Sabonis hosted several teammates at his new offseason home in Napa, California to watch last season’s Finals and play pickup games. “The vibes were great,” Sabonis told The Bee. “If you’re an average team and if your off-court (dynamic) is amazing, you’re not an average team any more, you’re definitely better. I’m a firm believer in that.” As Biderman notes, it was the first offseason as a King for Sabonis, who only appeared in 15 games with Sacramento in ’21/22 after he was acquired from Indiana in a February trade.
- Don’t expect the Warriors to consider an in-season trade for Draymond Green this season despite the uncomfortable situation he caused by punching Jordan Poole, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his Lowe Post podcast (hat tip to RealGM). “If anything, I think that may be underplaying the level of iciness and tension that they’re navigating right now,” Lowe said. “And that’s not to say ‘Are they going to trade Draymond?’ Everything I’ve heard is they are not trading Draymond. They’re just not going to happen. They’re trying to win the championship and will try to ride it out unless something drastic happens. Draymond is going to be on the team all season.”