BROOKLYN, N.Y. — In an exclusive interview with NetsDaily, Tyler Johnson talked about how he almost became a Net; what’s it like to stare at a $50 million offer sheet; how flattering it was to be considered a “Plan A” option by Sean Marks and the new front office; and, simply, how they went about the recruitment process.
Johnson was offered a four-year, $50 million contract from the Brooklyn Nets to become their sixth man and the primary backup point guard to Jeremy Lin. Over the summer, Johnson told James Herbert of CBS that he actually ‘threw up a couple of times’ when he saw the offer. In the same interview, he told Herbert that he was almost “100%” that he was headed for Brooklyn.
Seven months later, he’s still shocked to see how much Brooklyn wanted him.
“Man it was a great feeling,” Johnson told NetsDaily with a smile. “You can tell by the conversations we were having that they were very interested in the sense of making me a focal point of this franchise, so I was definitely humbled by the belief they had in me. I was ready to go over there [Brooklyn]. Obviously I love Miami, but I was ready for Brooklyn. Who could’ve called the way this all played out this summer?”
As we know by now, the Miami Heat matched on Johnson’s offer and went out of their way to say the Nets aren’t going to “poach” any of their players. Regardless, it was a smart tactic for Marks and company to aggressively chase Johnson who’s averaging 16 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals, including a 36 percent clip from deep.
“I was caught off guard in the sense that I worked so hard and never really stopped to see where I was at and what my value was. I never stopped to say ‘oh this is how much you can get paid this summer’ so when that number came up I was definitely caught off guard.
“It’s not that I didn’t believe I could get it, but it was nice knowing all that hard work I put in paid off.”
So, how did they almost nab Johnson away from Miami?
“They had the entire coaching staff there, Sean [Marks] was there; Brook [Lopez] was in there. I just felt very welcomed. They were really pushing to get me and it felt good.”
Obviously with the way things have gone, having Johnson around Brooklyn would’ve been huge. They’re in desperate need for a point guard with Jeremy Lin sitting out for over 50 games and counting. And of course, with Lin in the lineup, the two could’ve played alongside one another just wonderfully.
But as they say, everything happens for a reason and at least for now, Tyler Johnson is a member of the Miami Heat, not the Brooklyn Nets. Don’t think that’s going to stop Sean Marks from using the same exact strategy for other restricted free agents. Just ask Allen Crabbe.