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Report: Suns refused to put Cameron Johnson in potential Durant trade

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Nobody has seen anything like Victor Wembanyama before. With his combination of skill and size at 7-foot-4, he's really been turning heads during a series of NBA exhibitions and making it tough to draw comparisons.

The Phoenix Suns are high on Cameron Johnson. And not just “we’re going to start him in front of Jae Crowder” high (which is part of the reason Crowder is away from the team awaiting a trade).

The Suns were “he’s off limits in a Kevin Durant trade” high in Johnson, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Phoenix has aimed to supplant Crowder in its starting group with Cam Johnson. During the team’s trade pursuit of Kevin Durant this summer, sources said, Suns officials remained steadfast that Johnson was off limits — although one source said Phoenix did ultimately include him in an offer.

The Suns would have been idiotic to let Johnson get in the way of a Durant trade, although the buzz is the sides were never that close to a deal (whether or not Johnson was involved).

Johnson, entering his fourth season (and extension eligible), has developed into a solid wing player who can defend a little and shoot the 3 (45% last season). That shooting, and the fact he’s just more athletic than Crowder at this point in their careers, had the Suns leaning into Johnson as a starter. That frustrated Crowder, a vital part of the Suns’ run to the Finals two seasons ago. Crowder brings better defense, toughness, and is used to playing on the biggest playoff stages, something Johnson will have to prove.

If the Suns are this high on Johnson, are they going to be able to lock him up with an extension before the Oct. 18 deadline? The Suns want to sign him for something in the four year, $72 million range, Fischer reports at Yahoo, but Johnson may want to bet on himself as a starter and that he could drive that price up higher than $80 million for four years. It’s something to watch over the next few days.