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1 Brooklyn Nets Veteran Set To Ride The Bench This Season

1 Brooklyn Nets Veteran Set To Ride The Bench This Season

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The Brooklyn Nets bench reacts after Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets scored during the first half against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center on January 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

 

The Brooklyn Nets enter the 2021-22 NBA season tied for the best championship odds.

The Nets return a top-heavy roster that sports All-NBA talents in Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.

If fully healthy, those three will hoard a significant amount of minutes in head coach Steve Nash‘s rotation.

Injuries will certainly dictate how Nash fleshes out the rotation, but roster depth remains something of a concern.

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The team tinkered with the roster around its three stars this offseason and looked to leverage what worked last season.

Brooklyn re-signed Blake Griffin after the six-time All-Star’s solid run.

The Nets also brought back Bruce Brown, a do-it-all player who complemented their stars well.

The team added point guard depth by signing veteran Patty Mills and trading for Jevon Carter.

After Jeff Green walked in free agency, Brooklyn replaced him with veteran defensive-minded forward James Johnson.

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The Nets filled out the remainder of the roster with DeAndre’ Bembry and a bevy of rookie talent.

 

DeAndre Jordan Out The Door

One veteran who isn’t expected to be in the rotation next season is DeAndre Jordan.

Brooklyn and the 33-year-old center are reportedly working on a buyout of the remaining two years and nearly $20 million on his contract.

Jordan’s age, contract, and declining production indicate a buyout is more likely than a trade.

Although Jordan joined the team in 2019 with Durant and Irving, he fell out of Nash’s rotation completely last postseason.

After playing in 57 games and making 43 starts last season, Jordan did not make a single appearance for the Nets in the playoffs.

Should Jordan and Brooklyn not be able to settle on buyout terms, it’s unlikely the one-time All-Star returns to meaningful minutes with the Nets.

 

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James Johnson Most Likely To Ride The Bench

Last season, Green provided the Nets with surprisingly effective play as an undersized center.

At 6-foot-8, Green occupied the small-ball center roll and averaged 11 points per game and made 41.2 percent of his threes.

Green remained an integral part of Nash’s rotation last season, but the veteran opted to sign a two-year, $9 million deal with the Denver Nuggets instead of returning to Brooklyn.

To replace him, the Nets brought in 12-year NBA journeyman James Johnson.

Brooklyn represents Johnson’s fifth team in three seasons, but the 6-foot-7 forward brings a defensive toughness the Nets lacked at times last season.

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That said, Johnson has never been a consistent starter in the league and remains a fringe rotation player at this point.

At 34 years old, Johnson divided his time last season between the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans.

He averaged 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game over 51 appearances.

Johnson made just 25.8 percent of his three-point attempts last year, so he’s not a capable floor spacer for Brooklyn’s big three.

Beyond that, the Nets’ interest in potential buyout candidates like Kevin Love make a regular rotation role for Johnson all the more unlikely.

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The Nets have also been linked to veteran free agent forward Paul Millsap as well.

Johnson does provide a positional versatility that this roster needs, and his defensive toughness will elevate play on that end.

But with Brooklyn playing small so often, some frontcourt minutes will go to Brown.

And it’s hard to envision a role for a player like Johnson who is not a consistent player from beyond the arc.

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