KEY POINTS

  • Johnson is expected to draw interest from NBA playoff-bound teams
  • Lakers could check out Johnson
  • Johnson could be a fit with the Nuggets or Raptors

Several players are now being bought out by NBA teams, some of which are likely to find new homes soon. The latest player to be given the pink slip is Tyler Johnson of the Phoenix Suns. Though he has not exactly performed up to par this season, the 27-year-old guard could be a sensible addition to playoff-bound teams.

Two teams immediately come to mind as far as needing a playmaker. These are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. As mentioned in a previous post, both Los Angeles-based teams find themselves skimming the free-agent market after previous target, Darren Collison, decided to stay retired. He says the timing of an NBA return is a bit off.

Johnson ended up in Phoenix following a trade back in February. Along with Wayne Ellington, both were packaged in exchange for Ryan Anderson by the Miami Heat. He made an immediate impact with the Suns offensively before knee soreness forced him to the sidelines. This season, the 6-foot-3 guard has hardly made an impact. Per Basketball-Reference.com, Johnson has played in only 31 games averaging 5.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists. These are a far cry from his career numbers of 10.5 points, 3.2 rebound and 2.4 assists.

Johnson is in the final year of his contract and is set to earn $7 million this season. Per ESPN, it appears the Suns had no future plans for Johnson moving forward. Waiving Johnson would also give Phoenix the chance to open a roster spot.

Aside from the Lakers and Clippers, other teams who could use Johnson include the Denver Nuggets or the Toronto Raptors. The Nuggets could take in Johnson to beef up its backcourt rotation that revolves heavily on Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. The same holds true for the defending champion Raptors as well. The cager from Fresno State could be added insurance for the Raptors who are bent on defending their NBA title.

A stop with the Lakers needs no deep deliberation. The fact that Johnson could play both point and shooting guard makes him a logical fit for the purple and gold. So far, the Lakers are exploring possibilities with Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith. If nothing prospers, Johnson could be a curious candidate to consider for head coach Frank Vogel.