The Nets will keep Brown around and have another Olympics star coming to Brooklyn.
Fresh off a disappointing loss in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, Brooklyn entered this free agency without many holes to fill but holes nonetheless.
After a relatively quiet first day of free agency, Nets GM Sean Marks got to work early Tuesday afternoon to improve an already championship-caliber roster.
Brown is Back
Brooklyn’s first move of the day was bringing back guard Bruce Brown who will reportedly sign the $4.7M qualifying offer Brooklyn extended him a few days prior. Outside of the Nets Big 3, Bruce Brown might be the most popular player on Brooklyn’s roster. Brown was quite literally a Swiss army knife for Brooklyn last season.
Whether it was defending the other team’s best player, being used in the dunker’s spot, or even playing center — whatever Brooklyn asked of Bruce he delivered. This all coming from a guy who is barely 6’4.
On the year, Brown averaged 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. With Brown hustle and effort is a given which is why it’s no surprise he was the only player last season shorter than 6’7 in the top 50 of the NBA’s offensive rebound percentage leaders. And let’s not forget his seemingly automatic floater.
Entering free agency Brown was pegged by many to make anywhere between $7-9M per year so the Nets getting him for just the qualifying offer is a steal when you consider the financial tightropes Brooklyn has to endure. Still, this works out well for both parties as Brown will have veto power when it comes to a potential trade and sets himself up to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
The next free agent piece acquired was journeyman forward James Johnson. The former 16th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Johnson has carved a role for himself being a solid wing defender. His ability to switch on defense and matchup against forwards and even some centers is a necessary addition after Jeff Green’s departure.
Although he doesn’t provide as much offensively as Green, his defensive and physicality should more than make up for it. With the amount of prolific scoring on this team, Brooklyn won’t need Johnson to produce that much on offense anyway.
Lastly, Johnson adds a junkyard dog mentality and some toughness to a Brooklyn Nets roster that has been lacking that for some time.
Mills joining Brooklyn
The big splash of the day though came a few hours later as it was announced guard Patty Mills will be signing with Brooklyn on a reported two-year, $12M deal.
Free agent G Patty Mills has agreed to a two-year, $12M deal with the Brooklyn Nets, his agent Steven Heumann of @CAA_Basketball tells ESPN. Deal includes a player option.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
Mills, a 12-year NBA veteran had previously been a member of the Portland Trailblazers before spending the last 10 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
Mills also has some Spurs ties on his new team as GM Sean Marks was an executive within the Spurs organization while Patty was there, and Nets developmental coach Tiago Splitter was a former teammate.
What the Nets get in Mills is a solid backup guard option to replace Spencer Dinwiddie. Nets fans know Mills very well as he has routinely been a “Nets killer”. He’s a career 38.8% three-point shooter and shot 41.3% on “catch and shoot” three-pointers.
This bodes well for a team already brimming with above-average deep ball shooters. Not only that but he’s had a track record of durability throughout his career which is very important considering how injury-hit Brooklyn was last season.
Even though scoring is no issue with this team, it doesn’t hurt that Mills can put the ball in the basket and has been known to become a flamethrower from deep. In fact, Mills connected on eight three-pointers in a game last season en route to a 27-point performance against the Clippers. The Nets load managing their stars next season is not out of the realm of possibility which means Mills should see ample opportunities on the floor.
Although they aren’t earth-shattering or headline-worthy acquisitions, the Nets addressed some key positions while also retaining a fan favorite.