So far, the Brooklyn Nets free agency can be split into a couple of phases: The first in which they succeeded in adding unrestricted free agents like Jeremy Lin and Trevor Booker, followed by two swing-and-miss attempts at restricted free agents like Tyler Johnson and Alan Crabbe.
The Nets signed both players to offer sheets, but the Heat matched the $50 million, four year deal for Johnson, and the Blazers did the same with Crabbe, giving him $75 million over four years. The Nets might have helped themselves by taking two teams away from big cap space in upcoming free agencies thanks to back loaded deals (and the Nets, without a lot of draft picks in the next few years, are counting on free agency), but they’re left with a mostly inexperienced and young roster, that has a lot of holes in it.
Trevor Booker, who’ll be 29 when the season begins, is the oldest player on the roster. Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez are 28. The rest are 27 or younger, which might not be a bad thing as the Nets went after young players in their RFA offers, and a clean slate isn’t that bad of an idea, but the Nets still need more, and better.
One player that might make sense in terms of ability, but not so much when it comes to the way he fits in with teams, is Dion Waiters. Waiters just might be the best remaining free agent, still waiting for offers to force the Thunder’s hand, although now that Durant is gone, if Oklahoma City aren’t planning on starting from scratch, holding on to Waiters might be something they’ll have to do. Waiters was traded in 2014-2015 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, becoming more of a bench player. He averaged 10.9 points in 28.6 minutes per game for the Thunder, shooting just 39.6% from the field and 34.3% from beyond the arc.
Waiters does make people wonder from time to time why he hasn’t had a bigger career. He’s capable of big things and big games, but what comes in between is often not just disappointing, but vexing. He does thinks he deserves more, which is what drove him out of Cleveland, but fails to adapt to his actual role in the league, and grow from there. Attaching yourself to a player like that when the Nets are trying to build a team-oriented project, Waiters might not be the best of ideas. In the meantime, Waiters has reportedly suggested he’s hoping the Heat make him an offer. He played his high school basketball in New Jersey, and was born in Philadelphia.
Another player the Nets have been connected with is Anthony Bennett. Remember him? Another former Cavaliers, a number one overall pick? Bennett, on his way to go down as the worst number one pick of all time (more the Cavs fault than his), played only 4.4 minutes per game on 19 opportunities for the Toronto Raptors last season, blended in with some D-League time, before being waived in March. He played well in a free agent minicamp the Nets held in May, hoping that his time in the league isn’t over before his 24th birthday.
It’s hard to say what Bennett can add to the Nets. Maybe it’s all a matter of being on a team that gives him a little bit of confidence and hope. But maybe it’s a lost cause, and no matter how many chances he’s given, the “sin” of putting him under the microscope ruined him as an NBA player forever.