24-year-old Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson was one of several free agents to sign eye-popping, monster deals this offseason.
Johnson entered the summer as a restricted free agent — meaning Miami could match any offer he received — after going undrafted in 2014. He played in the D-League before having two solid seasons with the Heat.
In an attempt to lure him away from the Heat, the Brooklyn Nets offered Johnson a whopping, four-year, $50 million contract. The Heat ultimately decided to match, retaining the young, talented guard, even at a hefty price.
So, how did Johnson, who made made less than $900,000 in each of his two seasons in the NBA, react to signing such a deal?
“I threw up a couple of times when I heard the number go out there,” Johnson told Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. “I was in shock. I even lost a little bit of weight, because just the anxiety of going through that whole process and not knowing where I was going to be.”
Teams have three days to match or decline to match an offer given to one of their restricted free agents, so while Johnson knew he was getting a big raise, he didn’t know where he’d be living. Johnson told Winderman he didn’t think he would be back in Miami, due to the massive nature of the contract.
“I was like almost 100 per cent sure I was going to end up in Brooklyn. But, yeah, it’s an incredible feeling. And I’m excited to get back to work.”
Miami ultimately decided to match Johnson’s offer, betting that he would be worth the price as a young player in a rising salary cap. In the meantime, he’ll have big expectations to live up to, especially because the Heat let another player asking for $50 million go this offseason.
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