James Johnson re-signed with the Heat on a four-year, $60MM deal over the summer and recently spoke with Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders to discuss how great it is to have a long-term contract.
“It really meant everything to me,” Johnson said of landing that four-year deal. “To be in a situation in my life to overcome so much, and to finally get something like that where it’s long-term, where it’s somewhere I really want to be too, it was just all-in-all the best scenario.”
Johnson bounced around the league during his first eight seasons, spending time with the Raptors (two stints), Bulls, Kings, and Grizzlies before finding his way to South Beach. He has seen many NBA franchises from the inside and he believes the Heat’s culture sets them apart.
“Just their want-to, they’re no excuses, act like a champion on and off the court, and just that mental stability of always teaching you, not just drills, not just coaching just because they’re called coaches,” Johnson said. “They really inspire, they really help out, and it makes you want to be in that work environment.”
Many players chase stats or role as they look to cash on a new contract. Johnson explains how having a long-term deal at the age of 30 puts him in position to simply focus on winning.
“I got paid, so there’s no pressure of playing for the money,” Johnson added. “It’s really playing for the wins, playing for your teammates, and playing with a pure heart, not going out there with any agendas, not going out there looking to live up to something that everybody else wants you to live up to. For me, it’s just gelling with our team and making sure our locker room is great like I was mentioning. Go out there and compete and trust each other.”