By Bryan Kalbrosky |
January 14, 2021
The Brooklyn Nets made a huge splash trading for James Harden, but their roster is now very thin so more moves are assuredly coming soon.
After losing Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn especially needs more depth in their frontcourt. The Nets have three available roster spots, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, and still have their mid-level exception available to sign a free agent for up to $5.7 million. They can also sign any player for the league veteran minimum.
The front office may leave an empty roster spot for the buyout market later this season since, as legitimate title contenders, Brooklyn is now one of the more attractive destinations. Our own Yossi Gozlan predicts that they will use their $5.7 million designated player to trade for frontcourt depth.
Otherwise, in the immediate future, fans can expect one of the players we have listed below to sign with the Nets as they aim to restructure their roster on the fly.
The most likely candidate to join the Nets is Dewayne Dedmon, a 7-footer who has evolved his game to shoot beyond the arc in recent years.
Dedmon, 31, rose to prominence in the rotation for the San Antonio Spurs during their playoff run in 2016-17. The big man has recently played for the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings, though the divorce with the Kings was particularly ugly.
But a return to action with Brooklyn seems like a probable bet for one of the roster spots. Not only is he considered the best big man still available on the market but he also provides a particular skill set, as a floor spacer, that Nets starter DeAndre Jordan does not offer.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a defensive specialist who can play on the wing or as a small-ball five. The forward went to high school at The Patrick School in New Jersey, where he was teammates with Brooklyn superstar Kyrie Irving.
Back in December 2017, the point guard spoke glowingly about Kidd-Gilchrist (via Charlotte Observer):
“The impact that he makes on their team defensively, and now coming together offensively what he’s been doing … He’s really showcasing he’s able to step away from the basket and do some other things, bringing just more energy than he did, now that he’s just contributing on the offensive end, which I’ve been just supremely proud of to see the evolution and that he’s gotten better.”
Kidd-Gilchrist played for Charlotte from 20212 until 2020, when he was waived by the Hornets. He was picked up by the Dallas Mavericks, playing 13 games.
Considering his low usage rate on offense, it would be fairly easy for him to play alongside a stacked offensive lineup without ever needing the ball in his hands to make an impact.
Brooklyn may have some interest in Kyle O’Quinn, who is a 6-foot-10 big man that has always been an above-average facilitator for his position.
He dramatically increased his rate shooting from beyond the arc during his year with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, making him a better fit for the modern NBA. Only 30 years old, there is still a lot of gas left in the tank for the former Norfolk State standout.
O’Quinn was born and raised nearby in Queens, New York and he has several years of experience playing for the crosstown rival Knicks.
Someone whose name will at least be brought up as a potential candidate for the Nets is veteran big man Tyson Chandler. He is still available for action, too, as the Knicks recently had “internal talks” about signing Chandler, per Marc Berman.
He knows the personnel well as he was teammates with Brooklyn assistant Amare Stoudemire on the Knicks and Mavericks. He played alongside Harden and Jeff Green for Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni on the Houston Rockets last season. Chandler also teamed up with Durant and Harden for Team USA, winning the gold medal together during the 2012 Olympics.
The 38-year-old center may be past his prime but after winning an NBA title in 2011, Chandler knows what it takes to play for a champion.
While a reunion may have seemed unlikely when the Nets let Rondae Hollis-Jefferson walk to become an unrestricted free agent, he actually makes a ton of sense in their newly-thin rotation.
The forward, who was a first-round pick in 2015, played for Brooklyn from his rookie season in 2015 to 2019. After a diminished role with the Toronto Raptors last year, Hollis-Jefferson signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason. He played fairly well in the preseason but was not picked up for the regular season.
Hollis-Jefferson could slide up to play the small-ball five, though he is a more natural fit as a wing. His best value is on the defensive side of the floor, where his 7-foot-2 wingspan makes life tough for his opponents.
NBA players react to James Harden blockbuster
Here is the projected rotation for the Nets after trading for James Harden
Basketball, DunkWire, NBA, Nets, Brooklyn Nets, Dewayne Dedmon, James Harden, Jarrett Allen, Kyle O’Quinn, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Top, Tyson Chandler