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Brooklyn Nets Add Michael Beasley, Jamal Crawford for Orlando

Veterans fill two of four available roster spots for NBA restart

The Brooklyn Nets landed in Orlando this week with four open roster spots for the NBA restart, and they filled two of them on Thursday with the signings of veterans Michael Beasley and Jamal Crawford.

Beasley has 11 seasons of NBA experience, but had not played at all this season. He last played in 2018-19 with 26 games for the Lakers, his seventh NBA stop, with two stints in Miami, which drafted him second overall in 2008. He has career averages of 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

“Ability to score the basketball,” said head coach Jacque Vaughn in reference to Beasley. “At the end of the day we wanted this group to know that we’re here to win basketball games and to maximize this team. So Michael gives us a chance to put the ball in his hands and he can score from multiple positions. He can play multiple positions for us. Organizationally we will look at the best talent out there and he presented himself and we’ll definitely take advantage of his talents.”

Crawford entered the NBA as a 20-year-old drafted eighth overall by Chicago in 2000, and turned 40 in March. Over his second decade in the league, he’s been one of the NBA’s most dangerous and dynamic bench scorers. He last played with Phoenix in 2018-19, where he scored 51 points in the last game of the season, and he’s averaged 14.6 points in 1,326 career games.

“What Jamal brings to this team is the ability to make shots,” said Vaughn. “You also get veteran leadership, you get a guy who as hopefully we continue to advance while we’re here has played in high level games and is really comfortable being on the floor and can talk to multiple guys on our bench on how to be calm and how to enjoy and how to preserve the opportunity that’s presented in front of them.”

There are two remaining available roster spots due to players opting out or unavailable for Orlando due to positive tests for COVID-19, but with the addition of Beasley, Crawford and also guard Tyler Johnson, who was signed in June with Theo Pinson waived to open a roster spot, the Nets have indicated an interest in adding players with NBA experience rather than prioritizing younger, developmental prospects.

“I think we look at it like we currently have several young players on our team that are down here in Orlando participating,” said general manager Sean Marks. “Those guys continue their development curve. We’re obviously here to compete. We’re obviously here to…as it stands now we’re in the playoffs, and the objective is to compete as well as we can while we’re down here. And then the players we bring in like I mentioned before, how they continue to help develop the young guys we have, the Jarrett Allens, the Caris LeVerts, Rodi Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, and the list goes on.”

It adds up to a look at veteran players for long-term consideration as the Nets weigh what the roster should look like for the 2020-21 season, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back on the court and bringing with them significant expectations.

“I think we’re always going to be evaluating players, how they will fit with not only with the group that we have now, but the group that’s expected to be part of this team next year and the year after that,” said Marks, “and who’s developed along the way and who’s ready to not only seize this opportunity down here to really get some good minutes but some minutes over the course of the last year. But the evaluation process is ongoing for sure. Yes, you’re right: We’re evaluating right now for not only this year but next year’s free agency as well.”

The Nets will have to wait to get any additions on the court with a six-day quarantine for players who are arriving separately from the team. That includes Johnson, who did not accompany the team party on Tuesday due to personal reasons. Marks said Johnson is expected in the next few days. When all spots are filled, there will be five new Nets included in the restart.

“We need to get these guys in front of our coaching staff and in front of each other to be honest,” said Marks. “Somebody joked today if we were going to have them wearing name tags because it is a new roster. That’s important is to get these guys at least on the court together bonding and playing together as soon as they can. Hopefully, we’ll get this squared away in the next couple of days here.”

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