Phoenix Suns: Cameron Johnson’s extension may hit hurdle

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns have until October 17 to come to an agreement on a rookie extension with forward Cameron Johnson. Talks have reportedly been ongoing and progressing well, although the two sides now have less than three weeks left to formulate a deal.

Phoenix were in this situation with two players last season; they gave two-way wing Mikal Bridges a four-year, $90.9 million contract, but were unwilling to give Deandre Ayton a maximum contract extension. They would eventually retain Ayton by matching an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers in free agency.

Now, Johnson’s contract talks may hit a major hurdle thanks to a major extension handed to a fellow fourth-year player on Sunday.

Tyler Herro’s massive payday with the Miami Heat may cause Cameron Johnson to re-evaluate his own worth at the Phoenix Suns.

The Heat have agreed to a massive four-year, $130 million contract with Sixth Man of the Year winner Tyler Herro, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

While that’s an enormous contract, it’s clear proof that, like Johnson with the Suns, Herro will step into the Heat’s starting lineup this season. You do have to wonder how this impacts the perspective of Johnson and other members of the 2019 draft class, particularly when this forecasts as their first major NBA contract.

Johnson’s management could now come to the negotiating table with Herro’s contract as a genuine bargaining chip. Suns general manager James Jones could easily turn around and state Herro’s contract is an irresponsible one from a team perspective, but that’s unlikely to aid the discussions.

Initial projections had Johnson’s value at around the four-year, $70 million mark, but that could seemingly balloon to somewhere near Bridges’ contract number. While Herro is clearly a more valuable player than Johnson, former coach David Thorpe recently suggested that the Suns and Heat should orchestrate a straight swap given the needs of both teams.

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Suns fans should still be optimistic that a Johnson deal can get done prior to the October 17 deadline, but Herro’s contract could now prove a stumbling block in those negotiations.