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Cam Johnson cap hit much less than projected

Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Two Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In a bit of a surprise, Cam Johnson’s contract — originally reported as $108 million over four years — is instead $90 million in base salary with $4.7 million in likely bonuses and $13.5 million in unlikely bonuses. Moreover, the base drops the first three years of the deal, from $25.7 million in year one to $$21.6 million in year three before rising in year four to $23.6 million.

Both Mike Scotto and Bobby Marks broke down the numbers in tweets not long after the Nets announced Johnson had re-signed but did not provide details on the contract...

Bobby Marks included the Johnson data in a roundup of signings on Thursday...

The difference in likely and unlikely bonuses is based on a player’s history. For example, if a player averaged 22 points a game in the year before he signs a new deal and the contract provides a bonus if the player averages 20 in his new deal, that’s a likely bonus. Bonuses can be provided for both individual and team achievements.

More importantly for the team, only the base and likely bonuses count against the cap and the luxury tax threshold. If the player does reach the unlikely bonus level, that amount would be added to the cap. For example, following his breakout season in 2022-23, Nic Claxton received $850,000 in unlikely bonuses.

The $94.7 million figure is more in line with what pundits expected Johnson to sign for. The $108 million reported when Johnson signed was a shock to many in the NBA. As our Lucas Kaplan reported last week, the final two years of C.J.’s contract will come after the NBA negotiates what’s expected to be a very lucrative TV/streaming rights deal. That should raise the salary cap and tax threshold numbers significantly, making Johnson’s final years a bit of a bargain.

In announcing the contract, Sean Marks praised Johnson.

“Re-signing Cam was our top priority throughout this free agency period, and we are thrilled to have him remain in Brooklyn as a core member of the Nets for years to come,” said Marks. “Since the moment he arrived last season, Cam immediately embraced a leadership role both on and off the court. His versatile skillset as a two-way wing has proven to be an ideal fit with our roster, and we look forward to the positive impact he will continue to bring to our team and the Brooklyn community.”