Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I'm not talking merely about the Lakers, who recently lost Dwight Howard to Houston and were last seen signing the likes of Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, and of course, Wes Johnson. I'm also talking about Wes himself, who was a #4 overall draft pick just THREE years ago and can now fetch only a one year minimum deal for $1 million.
Lakers agreed to terms with SG Wesley Johnson...1-yr deal for vet's min of $1 mill. Was 4th pick in 2010 draft, played last season for PHX.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 14, 2013
In all fairness, this is actually a good deal for the Lakers, as long as their expectations of Johnson are tempered to the relative range of the salary he will be making (tempered expectations - a reasonable thing to ask of Lakers fans, no?). Having signed Nick Young, they can expect Johnson to play a few minutes at the backup 2 and 3 spots per game, along with several DNPs (especially as long as Mike D'Antoni's their coach).
The Lakers are severely restricted in terms of financial flexibility so the deals they're making are great for them in a fiscal sense, although I'm really unsure of the final product of all of their separate deals. Chris Kaman, Nick Young, and Wes Johnson came at extremely reasonable prices, but they all have serious flaws that will continue to be exposed (and scrutinized to a greater extent in LA than with their past teams), especially in D'Antoni's system. Regardless, $1 million is a great price for Wes Johnson.
So let's go ahead and let Lakers fans enjoy this moment. Let's let them drool over Wesley's age (25), the high draft pick (4) with which he was chosen, as well as his prototypical NBA body and picturesque shooting form. Let's let them discuss his immense "talent" over the next few months so they ponder how it's even possible for a guy like him to be an unsuccessful NBA player. Most of all, let's let them enjoy the brightness of his amazing smile. Really, the guy literally has a million dollar smile - he'll be making exactly $1 million in LA.
In any case, I wish Wes the best of luck (for himself, not his new team). Even though he was a mere stopgap option for a 25 win team that was only acquired in order to receive a future draft pick, he was by all accounts a great teammate and never once complained when he was buried at the end of the bench for the first half of last season. He even relished his increased playing time during the second half of the year and really showed...something.
Suns fans can at least remember him for providing the best highlight of the team's 2012-13 season: