The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers are two teams that are expected to focus on the buyout market as they seek to improve their bench corps after last week’s trade deadline. At the moment, both organizations reportedly have several options to consider, including combo guard Tyler Johnson, who was recently waived by the Phoenix Suns.
In a report published Tuesday, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix provided an update on some of the players that were waived or bought out in the aftermath of the trade deadline, noting that former Charlotte Hornets forwards Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are respectively moving to the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks. As for Johnson, Mannix pointed out that both Los Angeles teams — the Lakers and Clippers — are likely to “check in” with him in the coming days.
In a separate story, Bleacher Report wrote that Johnson averaged just 5.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 31 games for the Suns. While originally expected to come off the bench for starters Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker, the 27-year-old guard gradually lost playing time — and even sat out entire games — as Phoenix started to prioritize rookies Jevon Carter and Ty Jerome as the top backcourt options off the bench.
Prior to his move to the Suns, Johnson also played for the Miami Heat, where he averaged 13.7 points, four rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in the 2016-17 campaign — his best statistical season since debuting in 2014-15 as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State.
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In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, both the Lakers and the Clippers were linked to veteran point guard Darren Collison, who recently decided to remain retired. Other guards, including J.R. Smith, Dion Waiters, and Reggie Jackson, have also been brought up as potential targets for one or both Los Angeles teams. With Johnson now joining those names as a possible waiver wire acquisition, Bleacher Report cautioned that the two organizations actually have “crowded” backcourt rotations, despite their perceived weaknesses in that area.
“Johnson would be hard-pressed to receive double-digit minutes consistently with either team, so he may opt to see what other type of offers he gets after clearing waivers,” the outlet concluded.
Specifically zeroing in on the Lakers’ rumored interest in Johnson and the team’s current lack of outside shooting, a separate Bleacher Report article pointed to his 28.9 percent clip from three-point range this season as another reason why the team might have to look elsewhere when trying to address this weakness.