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Report: Heat to explore Tyler Johnson trade

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Johnson’s contract will be difficult to move.

NBA: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported Monday that the Miami Heat will explore trading Tyler Johnson as early as this summer. Jackson added that Johnson’s contract makes it difficult to move him, however.

Johnson, who is making $5.8 million this season, will have his salary skyrocket to $19.2 million next year. Johnson will also make that amount in 2019-20, the last year of his contract. When the Brooklyn Nets first signed Johnson to his offer sheet in 2016, they deliberately backloaded the contract to dissuade the Heat from matching it — Adrian Wojnarowski called it a “poison-pill contract” at the time.

But Miami decided to match the offer sheet after Wade decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls. Fast forward to 2018, and Wade is back with the Heat. Wade said that he’ll stay in Miami until he retires, and he may play one or two more seasons. And the Heat would also like to keep Wayne Ellington, who will become a free agent this summer.

Aside from the difficulty of finding another team to take on a $19.2 million salary for a solid bench player, Jackson reported that Johnson has a 15 percent salary bonus if he’s traded.

We may see a disgruntled star ask for a trade this summer and mention the Heat as a preferred destination. No one expected Kyrie Irving to emerge as a name in trade talks until it happened. But short of that, it is difficult to envision finding a team to make that trade.