The Miami Heat lost out on Gordon Hayward despite a strong Photoshop effort and plenty of intangibles like great weather, low taxes and the omniprescent Pat Reilly around to remind him of the franchise’s recent success. But as Hayward ships off to Boston, Miami has carried on its own free agency plan by signing one of its success stories from the past season.
ESPN reported on Thursday night that James Johnson agreed to a 4-year deal to stay in Miami long-term. Adrian Wojnarowski says the two parties decided its better to keep the Heat in place, and the 8-year NBA veteran has officially found a home in Miami.
Johnson had a nice 2016-17 season for Miami, his first with the Heat. He averaged 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game That’s a significant bump up from his last few seasons in Toronto, where he played the previous two seasons.
In free agency there’s always the allure of trying things out with a new team and a splashy contract, but Johnson and the Heat clearly decided what they have is working. Johnson can still play, and Miami is making an effort to keep the roster together, signing Dion Waiters to a long-term deal earlier this week as well. Whether this Heat team can contend for a playoff spot is another story, but clearly Miami likes what it has on the roster and isn’t willing to let them go play elsewhere.