Miami Heat: Setting the narrative straight on James Johnson

Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat made noise at the deadline with their moves. James Johnson was apart of what they sent out though and this is us setting the record straight.

The Miami Heat are a pretty good team in the NBA this year, although two of their most recent losses against the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t indicate as much. They are that way, of course, mostly due to the excellence displayed by the sum of their parts.

While they have maintained a certain optimal level of performance throughout the entirety of this season, since the beginning, they have not maintained an identical roster makeup. As apart of the deal that landed Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Miami Heat shipped out James Johnson to get the deal done. While some may think that they know what was going on there, here is how it actually looked to someone who follows the situation extremely closely.

For starters, if you take a look at the current deal that Johnson was signed under (one that a ton of folks seemed to take offense to), he signed that deal at a time where the Miami Heat had money and cap to blow. If you take a look at the deal though, it wasn’t that bad of a deal for someone who could provide what he could when given the opportunity.

James Johnson is a good all-around basketball player. He can defend any position the floor, hit open shots a good proportion of the time, drive the lane hard, and even orchestrate/facilitate if need be.

To put it all into perspective, Draymond Green’s cheapest year on his current deal ($14,260,870), is almost as expensive as James Johnson’s most expensive year on his current deal (player option worth $15,827,100 for next season). This is a comparison because they are pretty much the same player, except that Johnson is better.

He is a better all-around player, more athletic, more skilled, bigger, stronger, and is a better shot creator and maker than Draymond. The only difference between the two is that Green has suited up for and won titles with the Golden State Warriors. That is the first step to setting this false narrative straight.

The second element is that James Johnson wasn’t traded because he was a bad player or playing badly at the moment for that matter, as he was actually balling before being moved, which is actually why he was traded. Johnson was moved because he was a good piece who could actually help a team, probably the chip that Riley had to move in order to get off of Winslow, Waiters, and obtain what he did.

Johnson was the piece that made it possible to move the other pieces, I will not be convinced otherwise. Since he had started to come on and get minutes (which is the very next and last element to this whole thing that we will touch on), he was not only playing really well, but adding an extra level of nastiness, defense, and versatility to the squad.

The last element here is the scenario from the beginning of the season that saw him suspended. Not giving him a pass, as it was his fault that he didn’t meet requirements, that didn’t sour him with the team, coach, or organization though. In fact and as mentioned above, Coach Spo had spoken to the media in the weeks before the trade about wanting to get him more minutes.

If you look at it from a chemistry perspective, that wasn’t a problem either, as his teammates absolutely adored him. Here is a quote from a piece by the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, containing excerpts from both Winderman and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat.

"For all his conditioning issues and sanctions from the Heat’s front office, Johnson, 33, was beloved by his teammates.“We knew what JJ could do all along,” forward Derrick Jones Jr. said. “JJ’s always going to be the same player. He’s a great player in this league and he’s my brother. It’s going to be a fun night, but it’s all business.”“I’m glad to see him back out there playing and happy again.”"

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, or the quotes in this case. JJ was not a bad teammate, just one absolutely guilty of a mistake that he rectified.

You didn’t hear a thing from him while he wasn’t getting minutes, but you did see him supporting his teammates like nobody’s business every time they made a play, hit a big shot, or did something exciting. He was doing what he had to do to be a good teammate, in order to be apart of what helped to make this team so good. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, James Johnson wasn’t a cancer or a bad teammate, or anything else that could have possibly served as a reason to move him, JJ was a victim of circumstance and the business. This one’s to you JJ!

Next. Dwyane Wade’s vulnerability highlight of D Wade: Life Unexpected. dark

We sure miss you, although we are going to have to defeat you whenever you line up for the opposition. Keep being and doing you!