NBA Roundtable

Toronto Keep Amir Johnson

In Free Agency on July 2, 2010 at 3:38 am

Yahoo Sports reports

Forward Amir Johnson has agreed to a five-year contract to stay with the Toronto Raptors.Agent Kevin Bradbury says Thursday the deal is for $34 million.

Good signing by Toronto.

I thought the Raptors paid more than they needed to here – I figured Amir would sign for a starting salary of $4 million, a contract similar to Jarrett Jack’s deal for anywhere from three to five years – but this is still a good deal.

Amir Johnson is worth the amount of money that Toronto paid for him. So long as he receives enough minutes.

Potential

“Amir Johnson is worth the amount of money that Toronto paid for him”

And that, the above, is solely based on current ability. It completely dismisses any thoughts of potential either paying for it or being the beneficiary of it down the road.

Amir Johnson can still improve considerably on the defensive end of the floor + in his boxing out + make some marginal offensive improvements as a complementary scorer. Those improvements are realistic and quite likely to happen.

Given those improvements, Amir Johnson could easily become an underpaid player. Someone who is worth around $10 million per annum but is only paid $7 million a year.

Conclusion

This was a very good signing by Bryan Colangelo. Amir Johnson was good value and has considerable areas for improvement. Down the road, this could become an exceptional move.

Update: Change of Mind

From below in the comments section

Khandor,

I’ve been thinking more about this yesterday evening and you have convinced me. I am going to do a 180 here and agree that this was a bad signing.

I still like the contract. I think Amir is good value for this payday. That he is good value for this deal based on current ability, and, when considering his potential this deal is very good value. I like the money involved for Amir.

The Ed Davis Argument

Amir Johnson’s new contract is another bad move for Toronto which will hamstring their efforts down-the-road … if they cannot re-sign CB4.

i.e. Toronto would be better off long term giving those developmental minutes to Ed Davis rather than Amir Johnson.

Khandor, you wrote this on another comment and this was the point that won me over. I was ignoring the Ed Davis selection.

* I think that Ed Davis has many similarities to Amir Johnson
* Amir Johnson is a power forward and not a center
* A lot of my decision process on whether Amir is worth $34 million is based on minutes. Given 26-29 minutes, I think he is, and given 30-35 minutes down the road as a starter I think Amir is great value.
* If Ed Davis is the future power forward, and he should be (more upside especially offensively), then those minutes + role do not exist for Amir.

Consequently, due to the presence of Ed Davis, I think the Raptors made a mistake signing Amir Johnson to a contract of this magnitude.

In summary, I am a big fan of Amir Johnson and I like the pay level but I think the fit + timing of the signing is poor. Due to the presence of Ed Davis and the need for the Raptors to rebuild.

The Raptors would have been better of maintaining their cap flexibility + prioritizing Ed Davis’ development (giving him more minutes/responsibilities) than re-signing Amir Johnson.

Advertisements
  1. IMO, this is a bad signing for Toronto … given the length of the contract, the actual dollar amount and Amir Johnson’s ability, as a mediocre PF in the NBA.

    Although I like Amir a great deal, he is simply not worth this amount of money.

  2. I agree with Khan here. I think his upside isn’t great due to his offensive limitations, and that’s a lot of money over a lot of years. I think this is the kind of signing that might make sense for a team that needed a final complimentary piece to put them over the top, but IMO this is the kind of move that will leave the Raps with limited financial flexbility during the rebuilding phase over the next couple years. We have too many mediocre (but not terrible) players getting paid healthy contracts, IMO.

  3. Khandor,

    I’ve been thinking more about this yesterday evening and you have convinced me. I am going to do a 180 here and agree that this was a bad signing.

    I still like the contract. I think Amir is good value for this payday. That he is good value for this deal based on current ability, and, when considering his potential this deal is very good value. I like the money involved for Amir.

    The Ed Davis Argument

    Amir Johnson’s new contract is another bad move for Toronto which will hamstring their efforts down-the-road … if they cannot re-sign CB4.

    i.e. Toronto would be better off long term giving those developmental minutes to Ed Davis rather than Amir Johnson.

    Khandor, you wrote this on another comment and this was the point that won me over. I was ignoring the Ed Davis selection.

    * I think that Ed Davis has many similarities to Amir Johnson
    * Amir Johnson is a power forward and not a center
    * A lot of my decision process on whether Amir is worth $34 million is based on minutes. Given 26-29 minutes, I think he is, and given 30-35 minutes down the road as a starter I think Amir is great value.
    * If Ed Davis is the future power forward, and he should be (more upside especially offensively), then those minutes + role do not exist for Amir.

    Consequently, due to the presence of Ed Davis, I think the Raptors made a mistake signing Amir Johnson to a contract of this magnitude.

    Scott G,

    Supporting Piece vs Building Block

    Usually, I would fully agree with your stance here but I rate Amir highly.

    I think he can be a double double player who plays good-to-very good defense and is a very efficient garbage man offensively … somewhat similar to present day Varejao (Amir’s potential).

    Amir has the potential to have a huge impact on a game without needing the ball, likely as the fourth best player on a team … and that those contributions would be hugely valuable, in line with what a low level star brings to the table. An elite role player.

    As such, I would be willing to take a hit on my team’s cap flexibility in order to have a player of that nature on my team.

    —————————————————-

    Ditto for Varejao

    As an aside, if LeBron James leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer …

    There has been some talk about the Cavs fire sales and Cleveland wanting to move a garbage man like Varejao who’s contract is perceived to become a liability without offensive talent around him.

    I would rather see the Cavs hold onto Varejao and consider him their first building block. He is too valuable to part with unnecessarily. Acquire the offensively talented players at a later date and get the balance back then.

    Note: While I consider Varejao a building block, I would not consider Amir Johnson to be one. More a good role player who has the potential to become a building block (as an elite complementary player).

  4. Dave,

    I had high hopes for Amir Johnson when he first came into the league and during his initial years with Detroit.

    However, after watching him play more these last 2 seasons, it is now my belief that he is too small to succeed in a big way at the PF position, doesn’t know how to not foul, doesn’t have the skill-set to function adequately at the SF position, and is a mediocre prospect to ever develop into a solid starter for a quality NBA team.

    i.e. even after all these years, and the different problems Toronto had last season, Amir still only averaged 6 pts/g … and, now, he is being rewarded with a $35.0 M contract, after already drafting Ed Davis?

    Of the following players:

    Turkoglu $9.0 M
    Bragnani $10.0 M
    Calderon $8.0 M
    Johnson $7.0 M
    Evans $5.0 M
    Banks $4.5 M
    Jack $4.5 M

    the only one who is capable of earning his salary is Calderon, which is another bad sign moving forward.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: