Photo: Joe Rondone/The Republic

Though they didn’t reach an extension, new Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations James Jones is still optimistic about the franchise’s free agency case with Cam Johnson.

Amid failing to hammer a new deal, Jones appears to be coveting Johnson’s value and retaining him long-term, as the wingman is set to become a restricted free agent next year.

“I haven’t even thought about that,” Jones said of Johnson’s contract situation, via PHNX’s Gerald Bourguet. “We addressed our free-agent situation with Cam, we didn’t get a deal done, and we agree that he’s someone that we love and value. And so that’ll just be another conversation going forward. For us right now, it’s getting him healthy, so that he can return to form and play the way he was playing before he got injured.”

Chosen by the Suns as their first-round pick in the 2019 Draft, Johnson turned into rookie scale extension eligible following last season. But both sides didn’t eventually agree to an extended partnership.

As such, Johnson has every opportunity to elevate his value this season as he will hit the restricted market in the summer of 2023. He was appointed to start for Phoenix by coach Monty Williams, and his improving elite shooting and defense are relevant to the franchise’s dreams of chasing that elusive title.

Unfortunately, Johnson went down earlier this month and will be re-evaluated in the next one to two months. This might hinder his plea to gain a bountiful contract, but he can only hope to bounce back stronger.

Prior to his absence, Johnson was averaging reliable numbers of 13.0 points, 3.4 boards, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals in a career-high 43.1 percent three-point shooting (per 6.4 attempts).