The Brooklyn Nets may have just gotten some clarity on how their offseason will unfold.
Among their priorities, per general manager Sean Marks, is restricted free agent Cameron Johnson who is expected to draw plenty of interest this summer. But Johnson may have just tipped his hand on which direction he is leaning.
During an appearance on the ‘Ball Magnets Podcast’ on June 20, Johnson was asked if Brooklyn was a city to rent or buy a home in when he made the telling comments.
“I found this apartment,” Johnson said. “I had it for a certain short-term lease and, at the conclusion of free agency, I’d reevaluate and explore neighborhoods and figure out which area of Brooklyn I’d like to live in. Because there’s a lot of cool little neighborhoods, cool little pockets. That should be a fun experience.”
That is far from an official announcement but could suggest Johnson still plans on being a Net.
Brooklyn received Johnson a part of a package along with Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder – whom they immediately flipped to the Milwaukee Bucks – and a handful of draft picks from the Phoenix Suns at this year’s trade deadline for Kevin Durant.
The 27-year-old forward put up numbers – 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals in 25 regular-season appearances – that would have been career highs across a full season.
Cameron Johnson, Nets Have Mututal Interest in New Deal
Johnson, who is extremely close with the Nets’ new cornerstone in Bridges, has also made it clear that his former Suns teammate would weigh on his decision-making summer. At the same time, he also said that he did not yet have a plan for how he would approach free agency during his exit interview on April 23.
“Cam knows how we feel,” Marks said via the Nets’ YouTube channel during his end-of-season presser on April 23. “We hope he’s back…But he’s going to have decisions to make. So, at the right time, we will certainly be having those discussions with him and his agent, and we hope that Cam will be back.”
Johnson said his lease ends at the end of June which could mean a swift official resolution.
Especially if the Nets are as committed to Bridges – who has said he wants Johnson back – as league sources believe they are.
Nets Committed to Mikal Bridges
“Mikal Bridges is a player that they have that they’re going to build around,” insider Adrian Wojnarowski said on the ESPN NBA Mock Draft Special on June 20. “The kind of offers the Nets have gotten for him, I think, speaks to how valuable he is. And [he is] a player I think for Brooklyn, they keep in place when the next big star is available in a trade.”
The Nets have been linked to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Bridges and Lillard are also friends but the Blazers had the 26-year-old swingman atop their wishlist at one point. However, Brooklyn brass has made it clear they aren’t interested in parting with him leaving this potential traded stuck in the ether.
“We’re talking about a young man that’s growing in front of our eyes,” Vaughn said via YES Network on YouTube on April 22. “A great learning experience that we can’t replicate unless he goes through it…I’m going to be able to look back on this and talk to him about this summer what this felt like, what it looks like going forward because he’s a part of it.”