Phoenix Suns backup forward Cameron Johnson commented on his potential inclusion in a trade for Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant in an interview with The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin on Saturday, saying “it’s the business” if he were moved.
“I’m with Puff’s teammates, my teammates (in the locker room at the University of North Carolina),” Johnson said. “I’m like, ‘Nah man, don’t put me in this.’’
Johnson, who received third place in NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting last season, averaged a career-best 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in his fourth year with the Suns. He, Phoenix starting forward Mikal Bridges and starting center Deandre Ayton — before he signed his four-year, $133 million offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers as a restricted free agent — have been mentioned as potential assets in a trade for Durant, who reportedly has the Suns as a preferred destination.
“Like I said, it’s the business,” Johnson later said. “If that’s something that gets done, then that was just part of God’s plan and you’ve got to keep on rolling.
“But like I said, you’ve got to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and try to win a championship and then on the flipside, we’ve got to do what’s in our best interests to further our careers and try to be our best selves.”
Various reports have suggested the Nets are seeking an All-Star level player along with multiple draft picks, at a minimum, in a trade for Durant. Talks have reportedly stalled for a deal in recent weeks, as teams have not seemed to offer what Brooklyn covets.
Johnson and Bridges could be key pieces in a trade for Durant, along with players under expiring contracts (Cameron Payne, Jae Crowder and Dario Saric). But if Johnson signs a rookie extension and remains in Phoenix, he said he would “love to do it.”
“I’ve said this before. I love being here,” Johnson said. “I love this team building aspect of playing for this organization. I love the city and it’s just been a place that I feel has embraced me. We had to get past the initial draft shock, but it’s been fun. I love living here. I love playing here. I love playing for Suns Coach [Monty Williams] and I’ve loved playing with my teammates. So, if I can get something done, I’d love to do it, but the same thing I said with [Ayton].
“There’s a business side of it which you open your eyes to and then there’s the personal side of it which you have to open your eyes to. There’s always a balance between the two. Definitely as the summer goes on, and we can call a spade a spade. All these trade rumors going around. That’s the business side of it and you have to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and you have to expect individual people, in turn, to do what’s in their best interests, but the bottom line is I’ve really loved my time here and if we can get something done, I’d be very happy about it.”
Johnson also discussed the Suns’ future after their blowout loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks, Ayton’s extension and more in his interview with Rankin, which is linked in the first paragraph of this story.