Nets Exec Gets Candid About Free Agent: ‘Expect The Unexpected’

Cameron Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Cameron Johnson #2 of the Brooklyn Nets.

Just when things seemed fairly clear-cut for the Brooklyn Nets, general manager Sean Marks offered up a dose of sobering reality about restricted free agent Cameron Johnson.

“I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know,” Marks said in a video shared by Erik Slater of Clutch Points on June 23. “I think it’s one of those things that maybe we should expect the unexpected. Things happen all the time in this. We’ll be prepared for that. Cam knows how we feel about him. We hope he’s a Net.”

This is not a new sentiment from Marks.

He said during his exit interview that Johnson, 27, was a priority for the front office this offseason. But he also noted that Johnson will have a say in what happens as a restricted free agent.

The Nets can match any offer he receives but that has helped further sour relationships around the league in the recent past.

Johnson averaged 16.6 points on 61.0% true shooting after the Phoenix Suns traded him to Brooklyn in a package for Kevin Durant. He also shot 37.2% from deep in the regular season and was even better in the playoffs, knocking down 42.3% of his looks from long distance.

More than that, Johnson showed that he could be more than just a 3-and-D role player.

His points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals as a Net would have all been career-high marks across a full season.

Cameron Johnson Set to Cash In

The former No. 11 overall pick is expected to land a deal with a starting salary worth at least $18 million in free agency, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. And there is some thought that his next deal could even reach or surpass $20 million annually.

“We’ll just have to sort of play it all out,” Marks added. “I think we’ve got a nice young group, and he can see how this group can do something special here.”

Former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks is not convinced that the Nets should go all out to keep Johnson.

Brooklyn is roughly $18.6 million below the luxury tax threshold before making any moves this offseason, per Spotrac; a cushion Johnson’s contract would eliminate.

Johnson was clear that he will make the best decision for himself and his family.

But the Nets do have one trump card that may give them even a slight leg up on the potential competition which is expected to include at least the Detroit Pistons – where Johnson’s former head coach with the Suns, Monty Williams, takes over the same role – and the Houston Rockets who have the most money to spend this offseason.

Mikal Bridges Recruits Cameron Johnson

“I just know a lot of people probably want him on different teams,” Mikal Bridges said, per Lewis in an article from June 22. “I just tell him…‘I know money and this and that, but just know where I want you. And you can’t leave your Twin!’”

Johnson has likewise expressed not wanting to be separated from his friend and teammate.

Asked if Bridges would influence his decision-making this offseason, Johnson was crystal clear that he would.

“Yeah, I’d say so,” Johnson said via the Nets’ YouTube channel on April 23. “That’s my twin. I haven’t played an NBA game without him literally because he’s been in all of them…He is a good teammate to have. He does little things. He plays hard, defends, and can help cover up a lot of stuff. So the continued opportunity to play with him would be very cool to me.”

Everyone involved is saying the right things. We will have to wait and see what happens when it is finally time to put pen to paper sometime after free agency officially opens around the NBA on June 30.

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