Once again, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the bad news...
Sources: Heat are still in process of filing the official paperwork, but decision has been made to match Nets' offer and retain Johnson.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 10, 2016
The Nets are resigned to losing Johnson.
Sean Marks high-risk strategy of using the Nets salary cap cache to overpay restricted free agents is back at square one. Johnson was slated to be the Nets back-up point guard and sixth man, but the "poison pill" offer sheet failed to deter Mickey Arison and Pat Riley.
Riley executed a series of moves on Sunday --signing free agents Wayne Ellington and John Johnson, re-sigining Udonis Haslem and trading for Luke Babbitt-- that permitted the Heat to go over the cap, thus reducing Johnson's cap hit for next season to $1.2 million, the amount of his qualifying offer. The Heat are also expected to sign Nets free agent Willie Reed as well. None of the acquisitions is guaranteed for more than one year, permitting Riley to dump them all next summer and go after stars of the 2017 free agent class.
The Heat will have to pay Johnson $5.6 million, $5.9 million, $18.9 millionand $19.6 million.
The Nets are now left with five roster spots to fill and $33.5 million in cap space to fill them. The Nets maximized their cap space in a variety of ways: trading Thaddeus Young for the draft rights to Caris LeVert, rescinding Markel Brown's qualifying offers and renouncing a number of ex-players.
Now what? One league source said, without detailing the next moves, that there are contingency plans. We shall see what they are.