The Miami Heat’s evolution from post-dynasty/brave retool status to fighting again has been a joy to watch for the South Beach faithful. However, there were certainly casualties along the way as Pat Riley altered the team roster to chase a championship.
As the Heat worked to move up the league pecking order, players like Kendrick Nunn, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Hassan Whiteside and more were dropped from the herd to make room for heavier hitters. .
The same could be said for combo guard Tyler Johnson, who played 257 games for the Heat over five seasons from 2014 to 2019. Unlike some of the other popular players who have come and gone over the years, the The talented 30-year-old has struggled to cement himself with another franchise since leaving the Heat.
As of this week, however, Johnson appears to have found his next basketball home.
Johnson heads down
According to a club announcement on Friday, Johnson has pledged to lend his unique skills to the NBL’s Brisbane Bullets. The former Heat favorite and eight-year NBA veteran will join the Australian club – which compiled a 10-18 record last season – on a one-year deal.
“We have identified the signing of an American guard and being able to sign someone of Tyler Johnson’s ability and pedigree ticks the box on our recruiting record,” Bullets general manager Sam Mackinnon said.
“Adding Tyler to our backyard of [Nathan] Sobey and [Jason] Cadee gives us great flexibility and we add another playmaker. He can shoot the ball exceptionally well, creates for his teammates and many people have spoken about the quality of his human being.
For his part, Johnson also seems thrilled with the partnership.
“After having a great conversation with [head coach James Duncan] and [Mackinnon], I was excited about the direction they’re taking this team,” Johnson said. “I’ve heard so many good things about the NBL and I want to be part of growing this league.”
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Johnson’s career at a glance
After leaving Fresno State undrafted in 2014, the 6-foot-3 Johnson joined the Heat for the summer league and ultimately signed a training camp deal with the club. He then moved on to the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce before landing a string of 10-day contracts with Miami.
He performed well enough in that first round to sign a two-year contract with the club. And Johnson continued to improve his game in Year 2, averaging 8.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists and posting 49-38-80 shooting spreads despite hammering injuries .
As a result, the Heat were forced to match a possibly too-rich, four-year, $50 million offer sheet he signed with the Nets in the summer of 2016.
Over the next two years, he was a double-digit scorer, sneaky deep threat and occasional starter for the Heat. Ultimately, however, his contract was canceled in a cost-cutting trade as Miami worked to reduce its luxury bill in 2019. Since then, Johnson has bounced between the Suns, Nets, Sixers and Spurs looking for a place to hang his hat.
In 354 career NBA games, Johnson averaged just under 10 points, 3.0 boards and 2.3 cents per contest while shooting 42.6% from the field and 36% from deep.