In an interview with The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin on Saturday, Phoenix Suns backup forward Cameron Johnson commented on his potential inclusion in a trade for Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant, saying “it’s the business” if he were moved.
“I’m in the locker room at the University of North Carolina with Puff’s teammates, my teammates,” Johnson said. “I’m like, ‘Nah man, don’t put me in this,'” he says.
Last season, Johnson finished third in NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting, averaging a career-high 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in his fourth season with the Suns. Before signing his four-year, $133 million offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers as a restricted free agent, he, Phoenix starting forward Mikal Bridges, and starting center Deandre Ayton were mentioned as potential assets in a trade for Durant, who reportedly has the Suns as a preferred destination.
“Like I said, it’s business,” Johnson added later. “If that happens, that was just part of God’s plan, and you have to keep going.” But, as I previously stated, you have to expect a team to do what is in their best interests in order to win a championship, and on the other hand, we have to do what is in our best interests in order to advance our careers and be our best selves.”
According to multiple reports, the Nets are looking for an All-Star level player as well as multiple draft picks in a trade for Durant. Negotiations for a deal have reportedly stalled in recent weeks, as teams have failed to provide what Brooklyn seeks.
Johnson and Bridges, as well as players with expiring contracts, could be key pieces in a trade for Durant (Cameron Payne, Jae Crowder and Dario Saric). Johnson, on the other hand, said he would “love to do it” if he signs a rookie extension and stays in Phoenix.
Photographer: Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
“I’ve stated it before. “I enjoy being here,” Johnson stated. “I enjoy the teamwork aspect of playing for this organization. I adore the city, and I feel as though it has accepted me. We had to get over the draft shock, but it’s been a lot of fun. I enjoy living here. I enjoy playing here. I’ve enjoyed playing for Suns Coach [Monty Williams] and with my teammates. So, if I can get something done, I’d love to, but remember what I said about [Ayton].
“There’s a business side to it that you have to see, and then there’s a personal side to it that you have to see.” There is always a delicate balance between the two. As the summer progresses, we’ll be able to call a spade a spade. There are a lot of trade rumors going around. That’s the business side of it, and you have to expect a team to do what’s best for them, and you have to expect individual people to do what’s best for them, but the bottom line is I’ve really enjoyed my time here, and if we can get something done, I’d be very happy.”
In his interview with Rankin, Johnson also discussed the Suns’ future after their blowout loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks, Ayton’s extension, and other topics.