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Suns' Cam Johnson Comments on Being Named in Kevin Durant Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson understands the calculus at play when he's included in hypothetical trade packages for Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.

Johnson told the Arizona Republic's Duane Rankin, "You’ve got to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and try to win a championship." He added that mindset should be shared by players as well:

"I was in Chapel Hill with Puff. I’m sitting in the locker room and the news breaks. It’s Puff’s teammates, my teammates. I’m like, nah man, don’t put me in this. And next thing you know, whoever it was, Windy (Brian Windhorst) or somebody on the TV was like naming the potential trade targets. Naming DA, me, Mikal. And I was like, come on man, but it’s the business. Like I said, it’s the business. If that’s something that gets done, then that was just part of God’s plan and you’ve got to keep on rolling."

Johnson averaged a career-high 12.5 points and shot 42.5 percent from beyond the arc in 2021-22. He's still on his rookie contract and due to be a restricted free agent in 2023.

For a franchise like the Nets that wants to contend while laying the groundwork for the future, the 26-year-old would be an attractive piece to add as part of any Durant trade. Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz proposed sending Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and a bevy of draft picks and pick swaps to Brooklyn.

If the Suns ultimately do land Durant, then it's tough to envision an outcome in which they can retain Johnson too. Matching Deandre Ayton's four-year, $132.9 million offer sheet meant being unable to trade the young center until Jan. 15 at the earliest.

With Ayton off the table and Devin Booker presumably untouchable, Johnson and Bridges are Phoenix's two best player assets in a deal for Durant or another marquee star this offseason.

This may not be the last time Johnson finds himself in a state of limbo.

The 2019 first-round pick is a valuable member of the Suns' rotation but not irreplaceable. As a result, he figures to be linked to whatever perennial All-Star is on Phoenix's radar in a trade.

It's the same thing that has happened to Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown. Even after making his first All-Star team in 2020-21 and helping the Celtics reach the 2022 NBA Finals, Brown was still offered to Brooklyn in a blockbuster move for Durant, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Johnson seems to understand that as much as he's considered to be part of Phoenix's foundation now, the situation could change rather drastically in short order.

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