Somehow Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson has found himself in the middle of a WNBA controversy regarding wages, complete with — a sort of — an apology from Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner.
It started with a social-media post of questionable origin that featured a photo of Griner and a quote attributed to her that read, “You have mediocre players like Tyler Johnson making almost $20M a year. We deserve more respect.”
The average salary in the WNBA is a reported $75,000, with a maximum of $115,000. Griner’s salary is a reported $113,500. The minimum NBA salary for 2018-19 is $838,000.
For his part, Johnson’s salary for the coming season is $19.2 million, a product of a uniquely structured four-year contract that averages out to $12.5 million per season. His 2018-19 salary is second on the Heat payroll to only the $25.4 million of center Hassan Whiteside.
Griner, who hardly is alone in her displeasure with a WNBA salary structure that has players earning far more overseas, took to her verified Instagram account in the wake of her concerns being linked to Tyler Johnson’s wages, giving the story legs.
“Never said this BTW. I do believe we should get paid more in the WNBA before players decide to only play overseas and rest our bodies during the summer. However, I never called out a NBA player. I have said that they make a crazy amount of money and it would be nice to make even half of what they make. Also (no disrespect but I don’t even know who he is) wouldn’t call out anybody I don’t know. Especially don’t know what he makes.”
Johnson is entering his fifth NBA season after going undrafted out of Fresno State in 2014. He set the Heat scoring record for points off the bench, with 32 in a December 2016 game against the Orlando Magic.
Griner is a five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time league Defensive Player of the Year.
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