How did the Nets get open roster spots?
On January 14, the Nets three-team trade with the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers became official. Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs, and Taurean Prince were all sent out in the trade, while the Nets only acquired one player, James Harden, giving them three open roster spots.
What should the Nets do with these roster spots?
Perry is currently serving as the Nets backup center. His contract will need to be converted to a standard one eventually as two-way players can only play 50 NBA games this season. “He’s a young kid who works very, very hard, who knows the game of basketball,” Nets forward Jeff Green said. Out of Mississippi State, Perry, 20, was the 57th pick in the 2020 Draft. Perry has averaged 3.7 PTS and 2.7 REB in just 9 minutes per game. Perry’s breakout game came in the Nets 116-109 win against the Knicks on January 13, where he had 11 points and five rebounds.
Chiozza, 25, should also have his contract converted so the Nets can have as much ball-handling depth as they can have, also because of the Nets injury-prone players. In 18 games for the Nets last season, Chiozza averaged 6.4 PTS, 2.1 REB, and 3.1 AST in 14 minutes per game. Chiozza’s dazzling ball-handling, creative playmaking, and scoring abilities make him an exciting player to watch. In the deep Nets roster, Chiozza and Perry were never expected to play important roles, which is why they are 2-way players in the first place, but they both have played key roles so far.
Bring in an old friend?
Furthermore, the third player the Nets should sign is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. You may remember Hollis-Jefferson, a fan favorite, spent his first four seasons in the NBA with the Nets from 2015 to 2019. Bringing in a player who has been with the team before and knows the culture and the system would be a great decision.
What can Hollis-Jefferson bring to the table?
While Hollis-Jefferson is not a center and does not shoot the three-ball, he can provide depth off the bench as a solid defender and bring in energy. Hollis-Jefferson, 26, is also a good ball-handler, passer, and playmaker.
His former teammate, Timberwolves Josh Okogie, spoke on Hollis-Jefferson. “Since Day one, Rondae has been great,” Okogie said. “He tells me all the time we got to be the ones that anchor the defense down. Just seeing him play is very inspiring. The energy he brought out, and he makes you ask yourself, what kind of guy wouldn’t want to play with a guy like Rondae?”
Former coach Kenny Atkinson said, “He can guard a 2, a 3, a 4, a 1. It’s just huge for us. And he wants that responsibility. He’s embracing it.” The Nets enjoyed using Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive capabilities against players at each position, primarily at the four spot. Atkinson continued, “We can put him on a point guard, we can put him on a four, we can put him on a five. It’s just a huge advantage, his defensive versatility.”
Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.3 PTS, 5.7 REB, 1.9 AST, and 1.0 STL in his four seasons with the Nets. He spent last season with the Toronto Raptors. He signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 19, 2020. However, he was shockingly waived before the season after making a strong impression in the preseason. According to Jon Krawczynski, the Timberwolves could bring Hollis-Jefferson back at a later date. Surprisingly, no teams want Hollis-Jefferson, and the Nets should 100% pull the trigger on him before it’s too late.
Who replaces Chiozza and Perry as the two-way players?
With Chiozza and Perry’s contracts being converted to standard contracts, the Nets will have two open 2-way contracts. This is a recurring pattern, but the first player the Nets should sign is Jeremiah Martin. Martin, 24, spent last season with the Nets on a 2-way contract. He was waived prior to this season to make room for new players.
Similar to Hollis-Jefferson, Martin already knows the Nets system and culture. Due to his impressive play, Martin was surely a hard player for the Nets to waive. In 9 games for the Nets, Martin averaged 7.1 PTS, 1.1 REB, and 2.0 AST in 11 minutes per game. Martin proved himself to be a valuable asset to the team with his defensive prowess. Martin will likely be playing for the Nets G League team this season, the Long Island Nets.
The second player the Nets should sign to a 2-way contract is Donta Hall. Hall, 23, was with the Nets in the bubble in Orlando last season and played well. He will be playing for the G League Ignite of the G League this season. Last season, Hall was named to the G League’s All-Rookie Team with Grand Rapids. In 5 games for the Nets, Hall averaged 6.6 PTS, 4.6 REB, and 1.0 BLK in 17 minutes per game. Hall’s shot-blocking abilities make him an exciting player.
Other players I would consider for a standard contract or a 2-way deal are former Nets Justin Anderson, Iman Shumpert, Lance Thomas, Alan Williams, Treveon Graham, Dante Cunningham, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ersan Ilyasova.