Last season, Tyler Johnson waived $932,254 of his trade bonus to facilitate a trade from the competitive Heat to the lowly Suns.
Phoenix was desperate at point guard, and Johnson did increase his playing time there. But the Suns were never going to be content with Johnson starting at point guard. They signed Ricky Rubio, traded for Jevon Carter and developed Elie Okobo.
Now, Johnson is buried on the depth chart.
His large expiring contract created trade possibilities. But with the trade deadline passed and no deal struck, Phoenix is ready to let Johnson go on his way.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson gave up a small amount in a buyout. If he signs a rest-of-season minimum-salary contract the day games resume following All-Star break, he’d earn $595,709.
Johnson is having the worst season of is career. If healthy, the 27-year-old combo guard could theoretically upgrade the deep bench on a win-now team. But that first requires diagnosing why he has slipped so far this season.