Brooklyn Nets Roster Almost Set After Busy Summer
Nets extended Durant, added depth in free agency, and brought in youth through draft
Next stop, training camp.
The NBA Draft is in the books, Summer League is a wrap, and most of the league’s free agent business has been signed off on. A week ago, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said the work on his own roster was “90 percent complete, 99 percent complete.”
At the time, Marks still had two two-way spots open, but he filled one of those on Monday with the signing of second-round draft pick Kessler Edwards. So with one two-way spot left and some flexibility available with the 15th and final full roster spot, let’s sum up Brooklyn’s offseason moves with the caveat that Marks is leaving the door “cracked” for further transactions.
“We’ve got to continue to tinker with the roster, and just see what happens; see what happens with the remaining free agents that are out there and also what happens even into training camp,” said Marks. “I think we've seen in the past where other teams make cuts, and so forth, and we're able to adjust because of that.”
Kessler is part of a six-player rookie class that includes first-round picks Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe, second-rounders Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuon Gray, and undrafted David Duke Jr.
The biggest move of the summer came with long-term ramifications. Kevin Durant signed a multi-year contract extension that will keep the NBA’s leading active player in career scoring average with the Nets for years to come.
The Nets also reached agreements with two of their own free agents to return to Brooklyn after making their debuts with the team last season. Blake Griffin joined Brooklyn in midseason and brought a new profile to the frontcourt, with traditional physicality in a 6-10, 250-pound frame paired with shooting range and playmaking skills. Guard Bruce Brown, acquired during draft week last November, was tenacious on defense and opportunistic on the offensive end.
“Give him a ton of credit because he found a niche for himself within this group and we all know how James and Kevin and Ky have made players better around them and it's just a matter of fact when you play with likes of that talent they make everyone better,” said Marks of Brown. “Bruce made it very clear that the job wasn't done here and I respect the heck out of him for wanting to come back wanting to be part of this and acknowledging the fact that there's unfinished business in Brooklyn so wanting to be part of that for us. We need him without a doubt. We're very excited to continue the next year with him.”
The Nets acquired four NBA veterans — DeAndre’ Bembry, James Johnson, and Patty Mills via free agency, and Jevon Carter in a trade with the Phoenix Suns.
Mills is entering his 13th NBA season after playing the last 10 with the San Antonio Spurs, for whom he played in two NBA Finals and won a title in 2014. The versatile guard is a career 38.8 percent 3-point shooter. Forwards Bembry and Johnson bring rugged defensive profiles to the wing while Carter does the same in the backcourt.
“I’m very excited about the additions that we made to this roster,” said Marks. “I think we can all look at it and say they were certainly focused in one area, and that was on a defensive-minded standpoint. So by adding Jevon through a trade, by adding James, those guys will plug in some holes without a doubt, and at the same time, we’ll certainly miss the guys that are no longer here and wish those guys extremely well as they move onto their other teams, but I think we addressed a lot of the needs. We won’t have addressed all the needs until probably post-trade deadline, and that’s when we’ll really know what we’ve got. But we wanted to make sure we were deep, we wanted to make sure we were healthy, and certainly address some of those needs from a defensive standpoint.”
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