September 30, 2022

Cam Johnson enjoys reading about what’s out there outside of her residence.

“The earth is very insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe,” Johnson said, after Phoenix’s final regular season game in April. “There’s so much out there and so much we don’t know. I had an astronomy class in college which I really enjoyed and the subject piqued my curiosity.

As for the Suns this year, Johnson was a big part of their historic season that culminated in a franchise-record 64 regular-season wins.

He set career highs in almost every offensive category.

Averaging 12.5 points on 46% shooting, Johnson shot 42.5% from deep for fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting. He scored a career-high 38 points, hitting nine 3s with his last at the glass buzzer to stun the Knicks, 115-114, on March 4 at Phoenix.

March 4, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) shoots the winning shot in the final seconds of the game against the New York Knicks at the Footprint Center.

The North Carolina forward finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting behind winner Tyler Herro (Heat) and runner-up Kevin Love (Cavaliers).

His production, however, went down a bit in the playoffs.

Johnson averaged just 10.8 points on 46.5 percent shooting (37.3 percent on 3), but he started three playoff games that All-Star Devin Booker missed with a hamstring injury. -legs.

Suns coach Monty Williams has repeatedly said that Johnson is a starter who comes off the bench.

So, will Phoenix move Johnson into the starting lineup this season? Signing him for a major rookie extension would be seen as a step in that direction.

May 15, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) walks past Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Second Round at Footprint Center.

The Suns have placed a high priority on player development under Williams.

So giving Johnson a rookie extension seems likely.

Phoenix gave Mikal Bridges (four years, $90 million) and Landry Shamet (four years, $43 million) rookie extensions last season that started this season.

I don’t see the Suns paying Johnson the same as Bridges, but he’d probably get $15 million a season, maybe even close to $20 million.

Johnson will be a restricted free agent in 2023 if he and the Suns don’t agree on a rookie extension.

Read more:Monty Williams works 1 on 1 with Cam Johnson on the job

May 2, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) puts the ball down against Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals at the Footprint Center.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks asked, “Is Phoenix willing to pay starting money for a player who finished third in the Sixth Man of the Year voting?”

Making Johnson a starter changes that narrative.

Suns general manager James Jones has floated the idea of ​​paying Johnson and Booker, who is eligible for a supermax contract (four years, $211 million) after making the All-NBA First Team this season.