According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are one of the teams interested in the second year combo guard Tyler Johnson of the Heat. Johnson, 24, is a hyper-athletic lefty who averaged 8.7 points on 38 percent shooting from deep with the Heat this past season. He also played 15 games in the D-League where he averaged 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Johnson is covered by the "Arenas Rule." As cap guru Larry Coon writes, teams are now limited in the salary they can put in an offer sheet to a restricted free agent with one or two years in the league. The first-year salary in the offer sheet cannot be greater than the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception. However, the same rule permits teams to backload the deal with numbers all the way up to the max.
In the last week, the Nets have been doing everything they can to build up as much cap space as possible, starting with trading Thaddeus Young to Indiana for a draft pick, Caris LeVert, then dumping Jarrett Jack on Thursday. It's become increasingly obvious their plan is to overpay for young restricted free agents. Johnson fits that category.
Ira Winderman of SunSentinel discussed Johnson's situation in detail, and why it makes sense for a team like the Nets to pay the extra $4 million or so to nab Johnson.
Without delving too deeply into the particulars (of which there are many), what it means is that Johnson's starting salary for 2016-17 basically would be fixed at about $5.6 million. But an outside team could build a huge package on the back end of such a contract -- the rare case in the NBA where a quantum leap in a pay raise is allowed -- that would allow for an average salary in excess of $10 million per season for Tyler. That's why you have been hearing talk of a potential four-year deal for Tyler in excess of $40 million.
Meanwhile on a related note, Shams Charania of The Vertical mentioned the Nets are interested in 6'8" small forward Lance Thomas, a 28-year-old Brooklyn native most recently with the Knicks. The Nets had Thomas in camp six years ago, but waived him in the first round of cuts.