Tyler Johnson is making $5,821,260 this season. Next season, he'll be due $19,245,370. It's an exponential jump, courtesy of Nets' GM Sean Marks (Johnson accepted the Nets’ offer sheet in 2016) and will definitely cause cap issues. Don't get me wrong though, Johnson is an athletic and prolific basketball player. Given the right circumstances he's an amazing talent and huge help to the Heat. But right now, his role is ambiguous.
Last season, Tyler Johnson averaged 13.7 points, 4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In nearly 30 minutes per game, Johnson was a beast. He was a huge part of Miami's offense and clearly looked like their point guard of the future. Most of all, he was consistent. His play put those who doubted his contract to shame. But what went overlooked in his breakout year, were the injuries to Winslow and Richardson. Obviously, Richardson returned last season and excelled with Johnson still playing big minutes. Still, Justise's return has left things lopsided for TJ. Having a deep bench is great problem to have, but with Miami having lost three in a row, it is a problem.
Right now, Johnson is averaging 9.8 points, 1.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game. He's playing about 25 minutes per game, but doesn't appear comfortable. Some could say that's because the rotation is skewed with Hassan battling a bone bruise. A huge part of what made Johnson great last season was his rapport in the second unit with James Johnson. Now with James Johnson starting, we rarely see what made "The Brothers Johnson" so great.
TJ is still showing flashes of what he's capable of. He scored 23 points against the Spurs while shooting 53% from the field. He's just not consistent. For example, the next game against Boston he scored only 2 points, and then 12 points last night. The Heat's rotation isn't clear and TJ's role isn't set, but that needs to change soon.
I have no doubt that TJ can be a huge part of this team given the minutes, but if the Heat can't find a role for him than they should deal him. He might even make sense for Phoenix given the Eric Bledsoe situation. The fact of the matter is, Johnson is going to make almost $40 million over the next two years. Miami can't justify that contract if he doesn't have a clear role on this team.