According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, The Miami Heat have officially matched the offer sheet of restricted free agent Tyler Johnson, meaning the forward will stay in Miami for the next four seasons and net 50 million dollars.
The Miami Heat have matched Brooklyn's $50M offer sheet for Tyler Johnson, league source tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 10, 2016
Johnson was undrafted out of Fresno State and signed by Miami in January of last season after a strong showing in the Developmental League. A combo guard, Johnson has career averages of 7.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, shooting a healthy 45.9 percent from the field and 37.8% from three.
"We are extremely happy to re-sign Tyler," said Heat President Pat Riley in a team statement. "He, Hassan, Justise and Josh have grown together as an exciting, athletic, highly skilled young core over the last couple of years. They are going to have a tremendous opportunity this season and we are looking forward to watching them play together on the floor."
To many outsiders unfamiliar with salary cap machinations, this move may raise eyebrows considering the fact that Miami let Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, and Luol Deng depart in free agency, but Tyler Johnson's contract falls under a bevy of exceptions and rules that I will try to explain briefly.
As a restricted free agent, the New Jersey Nets had the chance to backload Johnson's deal, a bit of trickery commonly known as a "poison pill." Johnson would net roughly 5-6 million his first two seasons before his payments balloon to just under 20 million in the final two years of the deal. Miami could match regardless of cap space economics.
So in essence, Miami will have Johnson for cheap from 2016-2018, then he becomes a much larger percentage of the team's cap in the final two seasons.
I will add that all of Miami's moves are still somewhat fluid at the moment so the more detailed salary cap mechanics will be clear in due time (the Arenas Rule may or may not be in effect for Tyler).
Confusing? You bet. If you want to look at it from a purely basketball standpoint, Tyler is the rare undersized guard who is both adept at finishing in the paint and spotting up from three, making him immensely valuable. He missed most of last season with a shoulder injury before briefly returning in the postseason so he'll have to prove to be healthy to justify the move for Miami, but Johnson is an exciting young talent who fits in with Miami's youth movement of Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Hassan Whiteside and can run the floor with Goran Dragic, who will likely have full command of the offense now.