Friday, July 2, 2010

Raptors re-sign Amir Johnson

Amir Johnson, the Raptors sixth man and energy guy, is staying put in Toronto. Johnson inked a 5 year, $34M deal according to his agent, Kevin Bradbury.

It was widely believed that Johnson would return to Toronto, although he looked at four other teams before signing the deal. Considering Chris Bosh is all but gone, along with the fact that both Johnson and the front office wanted a long term deal, this contract makes sense for the future.

Johnson, who primarily backed up Chris Bosh last season, averaged 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in a little less then 20 minutes per game last season.

At first glance, it looks like Bryan Colangelo overpaid for talent yet again. But after looking at some expert analysis, as well as crunching my own numbers, this contract isn't as ridiculous as some may think. For one, Amir made $3.9M last year. Since Bosh will likely be leaving Toronto, Johnson will be playing in a bigger spotlight with more minutes. If Amir played as good as he did in only 19 minutes per game last year, he'll play even better with more extended minutes. According to 82games.com, Johnson's per 48 minute production at the power forward position were 19 points and 13 rebounds per game. Eric Smith posted an interesting tweet last night, which also proves this contract isn't as ridiculous as one might think:

Amir made $3.9 mil last year. He was getting a raise. More minutes/bigger role coming. Agent surely sold 'upside' & 'potential'..so he got, on average, about $6.8 mil now. Would you have been happy with $5.5 mil? 'Cause I guarantee you he was... going to get at least that. So, are you going to lose sleep over roughly $1 milion (maybe less)?

This contract has the "if" factor written all over it. IF Johnson can add more dimensions to his game...IF Amir can play as good as he did when Bosh wasn't on the floor...IF Amir can realize his full potential, and realize he's much better then his Detroit Pistons days... IF Amir can understand his new role, realize the heavy expectations set on himself. If Amir can fulfill these obligations, this contract works out. Otherwise, Bryan Colangelo will have another Hedo Turkoglu on the team, and the BC bashing will only get stronger.

All in all, I'm happy for Amir. I'm glad he'll have another shot in Toronto, and he'll get the chance to be the Raptors starting power forward. Let's just hope Bryan Colangelo has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

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