There are a few reasons why Johnson has now signed a minimum-salary contract with the Lakers, instead of resigning with the Phoenix Suns. In a previous article, I erroneously thought that he still had another year on his contract, but he was a free agent.
Johnson came on and played well in the second half of last season, partially just because he was a new face. Other teams hadn’t seen him play much and so he thrived. It seemed that he would be around for a while, but that was not the case. Suns management let him walk, even right to a division rival in the Los Angeles Lakers.
So why did this happen?
It’s all about the depth chart.
The guard positions are loaded with players. Many of these players at both positions can switch between point guard and shooting guard depending on the opponent, who is out there with them and the offensive and defensive schemes the coaches are trying to run. I’ll just stick certain players where I think they’ll end up playing rather than where they may have played in the past (i.e. Bledsoe and Goodwin).
- PG: Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall and Diante Garrett
- SG: Eric Bledsoe, Shannon Brown, Archie Goodwin
You can’t get rid of Bledsoe or Goodwin, because they are a part of the future of the franchise. So many people would say, why keep Brown and “get rid of” Johnson? People probably think that Johnson had a better year last season, when Brown was just benched because we already know what he brings to the table and we had to give some of the younger guys a look.
The main reason the Suns kept Brown over resigning Johnson is probably because they would have to commit more money to Johnson whereas Brown’s contract expires after the year. Expiring contracts are very useful when attempting to leverage trades. Brown is a piece that will have value on other teams as a player and with his contract. However, until then he can mentor Bledsoe and Goodwin.
Johnson has signed with the Lakers so we will see a little bit of him this coming season, but it was NOT mismanagement by McDonough to forego resigning the Syracuse product.