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What’s Cam Johnson’s market value? $90 million? $100 million? We’ll soon see

Other than helping Ben Simmons get back on the court, the Nets top priority has been re-signing Cam Johnson. It will be expensive.

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Las Vegas Aces v Phoenix Mercury Photo by Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images

When Cam Johnson was still in Phoenix, the Suns offered him an extension worth $72 million over four years. He turned it down and now, as a Net, he is a restricted free agent, meaning Brooklyn can match any offer sheet presented by another team.

So far, the most prominent names mentioned as competition for the 6’8” wing are the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, the former more often than the latter. Houston has $64+ million in salary cap space so they can give Johnson a lot of money with some rumors pinning the offer at $100 million over four. On Monday, Brian Windhorst said the final number is likely between $90 million and $100 million ... and the Nets plan on matching.

“I think he’ll probably get around 90 {million}. If a team comes hunting, he could approach 100 {million}, maybe not all guaranteed. I think the Nets will match up to that level.” Windhorst said on ESPN.

His former colleague, Marc Stein also wrote Monday on his substack that Johnson is expected to be the Pistons top target in free agency.

Detroit has strong interest in signing Nets sharpshooter Cam Johnson to a lucrative offer sheet in hopes of reuniting the restricted free agent with new Pistons coach Monty Williams after their time together in Phoenix. There is a rising belief leaguewide that Johnson will indeed prove to be Detroit’s No. 1 free agent target despite Brooklyn’s ability to match any offer sheet.

Similarly, James Edwards III of The Athletic put the numbers at around the same level with less certainty about the outcome.

The 27-year-old will be one of the most coveted restricted targets on the market. He’s a 6-foot-8 wing who is a career 39 percent 3-point shooter and a good defender. Every team in the NBA wants that piece.

There have been reports that the Nets plan to offer Johnson a four-year, $84 million deal. Detroit, which plans to make a run at Johnson, league sources tell The Athletic, can make Brooklyn sweat.

If the Pistons offer a four-year, $100 million contract, the Nets surely would have to think about it. A deal with an average annual value of $25 million per year isn’t bad for someone of Johnson’s skill set, even if the upside isn’t there. Detroit can offer that comfortably — and a little bit more.

There’s plenty of evidence that the Nets hold an advantage. In the last week, CJ went on a podcast in Australia and said that after free agency he plans to go house-hunting ... in Brooklyn. He also showed up on the links in Melbourne dressed all in Nets gear. None of that would trump a big disparity in salary, if that comes to that.

On Friday, Sean Marks was asked about the situation.

“I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know. I think it’s one of those things that maybe we should expect the unexpected,” said Marks. “Things happen all the time in this league. We’ll be prepared for that. Cam knows how we feel about him. we hope he’s a Net.”

So does Mikal Bridges.

“He definitely knows I want him here (in Brooklyn) and nowhere else.” adding that he tells Cam to stay in Brooklyn every time they get together. “When I text him or talk to him, he knows what’s on my mind. He definitely knows I want him here and nowhere else.”

Nothing can happen officially till the weekend which is official opening of free agency. If Johnson accepts an offer sheet from the Rockets, Pistons or any other team, the Nets will have 24 hours to match. Otherwise, he would simply sign with Brooklyn, helping his friend Mikal Bridges get some rest.