The Nets dug themselves in a hole with years of shortsighted moves, so talent acquisition has become a major challenge in Brooklyn.
Especially because other teams aren’t helping.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Johnson will make $5,628,000 next season, $5,881,260 the following season and an average of $19,245,370 the two years after that. This puts pressure on the Heat to make a splash in 2017 free agency while Johnson’s cap hit is still low. Building around him in 2018 and 2019 will be a major challenge if a core isn’t already set.
Matching will immediately raise Johnson’s 2016-17 cap number from $1,180,431 to $5,628,000. So, Miami pushed to complete its other major offseason business in the last few days. The Heat signed Derrick Williams, James Johnson and Wayne Ellington, re-signed Udonis Haslem and traded for Luke Babbitt.
Babbitt, a stretch four, provides insurance if Josh McRoberts remains unhealthy — or even if Chris Bosh can’t play. The 24-year-old Babbitt is owed $1,227,286 next season in the final year of his contract.
This is a piecemeal roster built around Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow after Dwyane Wade‘s departure. But at least the Heat have guaranteed no 2017-18 money to Williams, James Johnson, Ellington or Babbitt. With Tyler Johnson’s cap hold low, Miami projects to have about $18 million in 2017 cap space. That’s not max money, but the salary Wade was seeking would’ve completely eliminated the Heat’s cap space.
Tyler Johnson, a combo guard, keeps Miami competitive in the short term — not as much as Wade would’ve, but the 24-year-old Johnson can play. He’s athletic and has a nice feel for the game. Most importantly, the Arenas rule forced Johnson’s unconventional contract structure, giving the Heat a 2017 flexibility that was impossible to work into Wade’s deal.
But flexibility goes only so far. Look at the Nets. They now have more money left to spend than they know what to do with, and most top free agents have already signed.
The Heat, justifiably, feel they’ll have better luck with free agents in a deeper class next year. But the clock is ticking until Johnson’s salary skyrockets and causes another jam.