DeAndre' Bembry

Nets Notes: Harris, Irving, Durant, Lineup, Bembry

The Nets could soon have one of their top perimeter shooters back in the lineup. Joe Harris is expected to return to practice soon and could be back in action “in the next couple weeks,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter (hat tip to Adam Zagoria of Forbes).

Harris, who is in the second year of a four-year, $75MM contract, was averaging 11.3 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 14 starts before he underwent ankle surgery on November 29. At that time, he was given a four-to-eight week timetable for his return. Harris is a 43.9% career 3-point shooter and would be a huge boost for a club currently ranked No. 16 in 3-point shooting.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Kyrie Irving would be more than just a part-time player if he got vaccinated. However, Kevin Durant said he won’t pressure the enigmatic point guard to get the shots, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play — play every game. But I’m not about to force somebody to get a vaccine, like that’s not my thing. So he can play basketball? Nah, I’m not about to do that,” Durant said. “We’ve had conversations about wanting him to be a part of the team and conversations about him being here full-time, but that’s on his time.”
  • Brooklyn’s lineup won’t have any stability due to Irving’s status, but coach Steve Nash will try to keep it as simple as possible, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Patty Mills started on Friday when the team lost at home to Milwaukee. “I think it’s to be simple,” Nash said. “Two things. One, keeping it simple is best for everyone. Two, something is always going on with our squad and availability, so we’re mixing-and-matching often. So keeping it simple in this case is probably the best way, and the way that makes the most sense. “
  • DeAndre’ Bembry got his salary guaranteed for the rest of the season on Friday but he’s not content with signing one-year, non-guaranteed deals every season, as he told Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News“I’m not the one to just sit there and think about the contract. I’m thankful for these opportunities as always,” Bembry said. “But like I said, (I’m) looking forward to the next opportunity. I want more and feel like I deserve more, and I’m definitely going to go out there and take it.”

Nets Notes: Bembry, Irving, Aldridge

The Nets intend to keep DeAndre’ Bembry on their roster, fully guaranteeing his minimum-salary contract for 2021/22, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Bembry’s salary was already partially guaranteed for $1,250,000 and his overall cap hit is just $1,669,178, so the cost of guaranteeing the remainder of his salary is modest, making it a relatively easy decision for the Nets. The swingman’s performance this season helped seal the deal — he has averaged 6.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 1.0 SPG with a .599 FG% and .462 3PT% in a part-time role (20.3 MPG) across 32 games.

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • After scoring 22 points in his season debut on Wednesday, Kyrie Irving sidestepped questions about whether he might get the COVID-19 vaccine and said he was just happy to be back on the court, as Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. Irving’s teammates were also thrilled to have him back. “I just missed his presence around the locker room, his energy, his vibe around the team,” Kevin Durant said. “And then his game is just so beautiful. It makes the game so much easier for everybody out there. It was amazing to see him out on the floor again.”
  • With a two-game home stand on tap this weekend, the Nets won’t have Irving on the floor again until Monday, when they travel to Portland to make up one of the games that was postponed in December. James Harden said the team is still adjusting to the on-again, off-again nature of Irving’s availability. “It’s going to take some time [to get used to],” Harden said, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “… But we’ve been a resilient group all year and [we’ll] eventually figure it out. Hopefully he’s able to play every single game. Home games and away games. But until then we’ll figure it out, we’ll keep pushing and find ways to come up with wins.”
  • LaMarcus Aldridge has played in three games since exiting the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but he admitted this week that he’s still dealing with the aftereffects of his case of COVID-19. “It was my first time getting it, so I think it definitely hit me harder than most,” Aldridge said, adding that he experienced “all the symptoms,” as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “I’m still trying to get my legs back, get my wind back, and just feel normal again.” Aldridge acknowledged that his history of cardiac issues put him at greater risk when he contracted the virus.

Four Nets Players Enter Health And Safety Protocols

Four Nets players have joined forward Paul Millsap in the health and safety protocols, the team announced this morning. As Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays (via Twitter), LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, and James Johnson have all entered the protocols and have been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. Toronto.

We don’t have information yet on whether any or all of the five Nets players in the protocols have tested positive for COVID-19. If they’ve registered a false positive or have been deemed close contacts of someone who tested positive, it’s possible they could be cleared later this week.

However, if they’ve all tested positive for the coronavirus, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. In that scenario, the Nets would be eligible to add multiple extra players via the hardship provision.

The Nets, who are also without Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris, will now find themselves a little shorthanded when they host the Raptors on Tuesday. They should have as many as 10 players available, but there are a few little-used rookies in that group, including David Duke, Kessler Edwards, and Day’Ron Sharpe.

Kevin Durant and James Harden will, of course, be leaned on heavily to carry the scoring load, assuming Durant plays — he’s listed as questionable due to right ankle soreness (Twitter link via Marc Stein).

The Nets aren’t the only New York team currently being affected by the health and safety protocols. The Knicks announced this morning (via Twitter) that rookie guard Quentin Grimes is out for Tuesday’s game vs. Golden State due to the protocols.

Grimes is the third Knick to enter the protocols within the last four days, joining RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin. It’s unfortunate timing for 2021’s No. 25 overall pick, who had his best game as a pro in his first career start on Sunday when he scored 27 points with seven 3-pointers vs. Milwaukee.

Nets Notes: Bembry, Aldridge, Griffin, Harris

DeAndre’ Bembry‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nets is only partially guaranteed for $750K, but based on his performance as of late, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the team will be comfortable fully guaranteeing that deal, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Bembry has taken on a larger role with Joe Harris and Bruce Brown out of action and has responded as well as Brooklyn could’ve hoped.

“He gives us some speed and athleticism; he gives us a defender out there who can guard No. 1 options on the other team, and he also is a cutter offensively for us. So he’s been great,” head coach Steve Nash said. “We’ve been working with him to really understand his role, and I think he’s been fantastic with his willingness to compete and to grow as a player. So, really proud of his effort and he’s getting better.”

Bembry scored 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go along with nine rebounds in 35 minutes during Saturday’s loss to Phoenix. Bembry won’t play that much – or that well – every night, but he looks like a good bet to continue getting regular minutes going forward, having impressed his star teammates with his recent play.

“He played incredible [on Saturday] — playing defense on the ball, cutting to the rim, making himself available, rebounding,” Kevin Durant said, per Lewis. “We’re going to need that from him. He was a spark for us and he was one of the bright spots out there. So hopefully he can continue to build on this and keep getting better.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at how LaMarcus Aldridge went from retiring in the spring to becoming a crucial part of the Nets’ lineup in the fall. Aldridge, who inked a minimum-salary contract with the club in the offseason, has been one of this season’s best bargains so far.
  • Having been displaced by Aldridge in the starting lineup, Blake Griffin has been out of Brooklyn’s rotation entirely over the last couple games, which he admits he didn’t see coming, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. Griffin said he talked to former teammate DeAndre Jordan, who was removed from the rotation last season, about how to handle the demotion. “He did a really great job with it,” Griffin said. “I told him that. That is how I am going to try to do it as well.”
  • Joe Harris‘ contract includes a $500K bonus that he can earn if the Nets win the championship, but he only qualifies for it if he plays at least 65 regular season games, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Harris’ absence due to ankle surgery appears likely to take that bonus off the table for this season, even if Brooklyn makes a title run.

Eastern Notes: Griffin, Bembry, Fultz, Capela, Bogdanovic

Nets big man Blake Griffin has seen his role shrink with the impressive play of LaMarcus Aldridge, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Griffin started last season and in Brooklyn’s first 18 games this year, but he was replaced by Aldridge against the Celtics on Wednesday.

In addition to losing his starting spot, Griffin also didn’t receive minutes off the bench. Head coach Steve Nash opted to play James Johnson and Paul Millsap instead, and the duo helped the Nets secure a 123-104 road victory.

“We just need to look at different things,” Nash said. “I think it picked up our pace. [Aldridge is] not the fastest guy on the floor, but we played with pace. We played with ideas. We weren’t stagnant. We moved the ball. I thought we defended well. 

“Overall, the spirit was really good. That’s what we’ve been asking from this group is to have a great spirit and pick each other up and push for more, get better.” 

There’s more from the Eastern Conference today:

  • Nets swingman DeAndre’ Bembry is showing the team he deserves more minutes, Mark Sanchez of the New York Post opines. In 18 games this season, Bembry is averaging 5.1 points in 18.6 minutes per contest, shooting 41% from three-point range. He has failed to exceed 30% from deep in each of his last three seasons.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz discussed a variety of topics with former NBA player Etan Thomas on BasketballNews.com’s The Rematch (podcast link), including his injuries, love of the game and facing adversity. Fultz has yet to play this season as he rehabs from a torn ACL.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines the close connection between Hawks players Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela. Bogdanovic and Capela have been teammates for two seasons, but, as Kirschner details, their relationship extends past basketball.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Brown, Bembry, Drummond, Milton

Nets head coach Steve Nash knows he needs to be careful not to overburden star Kevin Durant, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Durant, who leads the NBA in scoring with 29.5 points per game, is shooting a career-high 58.5% from the field. Nash says the team is intent on finding Durant more shots within the flow of the offense, instead of relying on him to bail them out with his great one-on-one play.

That’s the luxury of All-Star players, that they can do that. Kevin’s obviously elite at scoring and isolating, and there are times when we lean on him. But it’s important for our team that we don’t overburden (him),” said Nash.

You want to give him as many great opportunities to score out of the flow and out of teamwork, rather than have to face a loaded defense all night. So while that is a luxury — that he can make plays against anyone — we definitely don’t want to rely on that. That’s the antithesis to our vision. But that is a luxury, when he can just rise up and score over people.”

The Nets have just seven players back from last season, and Nash says all the new faces are still trying to figure out how to play together.

It’s a new group, and we’re asking them to play a lot of basketball where they’re reading situations, playing early, and with a randomness, but with principles,” Nash said. “That takes time to develop that feel for one another. But I think that’s where our group needs to go. … It still takes time and there are only stretches of the game where we execute that vision.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Matthew Brooks of NetsDaily.com provides a video breakdown of how the NetsBruce Brown and DeAndre’ Bembry have played key roles in shaping the team’s newfound defensive identity. Brown re-signed with Brooklyn in the offseason, while Bembry was added in free agency.
  • With Sixers star Joel Embiid sidelined with COVID-19, it’s Andre Drummond‘s time to shine, opines Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey believes that Drummond, a free agent signing on a one-year, minimum-salary contract, has already proven to be a clear upgrade over Dwight Howard, Embiid’s replacement last season. Drummond is averaging 15 points, 20 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game in three starts this season.
  • Sixers guard Shake Milton has given the team a boost since returning from a sprained ankle, according to Gina Mizell of the Inquirer. Milton has shown a willingness to play multiple roles and is competing harder on defense. “However it comes, I think I’m going to be prepared,” Milton said. “My mentality every game is to come in and bring the team energy, pick up full court, play-make on offense, guard my guy on defense and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Millsap, Aldridge, Luxury Tax

Nets guard Kyrie Irving wasn’t present at the team’s first practice in Brooklyn on Tuesday, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

In order to enter public indoor venues in New York City, individuals must have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Irving, who deflected questions about the subject last week, is reportedly unvaccinated. He was able to take part in the Nets’ training camp, which took place last week in San Diego, but as long as he remains unvaccinated, he’ll be unable to play or practice in New York.

Head coach Steve Nash didn’t provide any additional details on Irving’s status, as Youngmisuk notes.

“No further update,” Nash told reporters when asked about Irving, adding that he’s “not really worried” about the point guard’s absence. “We support him. We are here for him. Things change. When there’s a resolution, we’re here for him.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • With Nicolas Claxton expected to get regular minutes at center for the Nets, it’s unclear if veterans Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge will both be a consistent part of the rotation to start the season. However, the two big men have made strong cases for themselves so far and even showed on Sunday vs. the Lakers that they might even be capable of playing alongside each other, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “They both had a really good camp,” Nash said. “Both moved well, played well, showed their intellect and skill set. I thought they played quite well together even though it’s not something that we’ve necessarily done traditionally, played the two bigger guys.”
  • Even if they don’t end up playing big minutes, Millsap and Aldridge are looking forward to passing their knowledge onto the team’s younger players, per Lewis. “Me and LaMarcus are veteran guys, two of the oldest in the locker room,” Millsap said. “So we’re going to help try to guide some of these younger guys into knowing what the NBA’s all about.”
  • Within his preview of the team’s 2021/22 season, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that the Nets could explore trades that reduce their projected luxury-tax payment. Hollinger identifies Sekou Doumbouya and DeAndre’ Bembry as two possible trade candidates in that scenario. For what it’s worth, Brooklyn can’t include cash in any more deals this season, having used the maximum $5.785MM in last month’s DeAndre Jordan trade. The Nets do still have some future second-round picks they could use as sweeteners.

Contract Details: Clippers, THT, Ball, Nwaba, Bembry, Raptors

After reporting over the weekend that the Clippers used about $3.9MM of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Justise Winslow, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video) confirmed today that the team used the leftover portion of that MLE to sign second-round picks Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to three-year deals, with Preston getting a little more than the rookie minimum.

Keith Smith of Spotrac shares those salary figures down to the dollar, tweeting that Winslow’s first-year salary is $3,902,439 while Preston’s is $1,062,303. Combined with Boston’s rookie minimum of $925,258, those three salaries add up to exactly $5.89MM, the amount of the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Here are a few more details on new contracts from around the NBA:

  • While Talen Horton-Tucker‘s three-year deal with the Lakers was initially said to be worth $32MM, the year-by-year breakdown provided by Smith works out to a total of $30.78MM (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball‘s four-year deal with the Bulls also came in slightly lower than expected, according to Smith, who says it has a base value of $80MM, with $1MM in annual unlikely incentives (Twitter link).
  • David Nwaba‘s three-year, $15MM contract with the Rockets has two fully guaranteed seasons followed by a third-year team option, according to Marks (Instagram video).
  • DeAndre’ Bembry‘s minimum-salary deal with the Nets has a partial guarantee of $750K for now, tweets Smith. That number will increase to $1.25MM on December 15 before becoming fully guaranteed in January.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter links) shares some Raptors contract details, reporting that Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal has a base value of $51.84MM, with $250K in annual unlikely incentives. Murphy adds that Ishmail Wainright got a $250K guarantee in 2021/22 – plus a $125K guarantee in ’22/23 – on his minimum-salary contract, while Yuta Watanabe‘s minimum-salary deal is now partially guaranteed for $375K. Watanabe would get his full guarantee if he makes the regular season roster.

Nets Sign DeAndre’ Bembry

AUGUST 8: The Nets have officially signed Bembry, the club announced today in a press release.


AUGUST 6: The Nets have reached a one-year agreement with free agent swingman DeAndre’ Bembry, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). While terms of the deal weren’t reported, Brooklyn is currently limited to minimum-salary commitments.

Bembry, who joins Patty Mills and James Johnson as veteran free agents to commit to Brooklyn this offseason, spent the 2020/21 season with the Raptors. He appeared in 51 games, averaging 5.7 points on 51% shooting from the floor and 26% shooting from deep, providing defensive versatility and athleticism off the bench. He was waived on Tuesday before his 2021/22 salary became guaranteed.

The 6’5″ Bembry was also the No. 21 pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. He spent the first four years of his career with Atlanta, mostly playing off the bench.

In addition to Bembry, Mills and Johnson, the Nets also reached new deals with two of their own free agents this summer: Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown. The team has built a formidable roster around the likes of Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant as it seeks its first-ever NBA championship.

Lowe’s Latest: K. Williams, Payne, Monk, Burks, Hartenstein

For the 10th year in a row, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has named his end-of-season “Luke Walton All-Stars,” honoring overlooked rotation players and NBA journeymen who have impressed him most over the course of the year.

Nets guard Bruce Brown, Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Raptors teammates Yuta Watanabe and DeAndre’ Bembry are among the players who made Lowe’s list, which also includes a handful of interesting tidbits on some of his choices. Here are a few highlights:

  • Thunder forward Kenrich Williams, who resisted signing a two-way contract multiple times earlier in his career, has enjoyed a breakout year in Oklahoma City. Sources tell Lowe that several playoff teams expressed trade interest in Williams prior to March’s deadline, but he wanted to remain in OKC, where he’s under contract for two more years (both non-guaranteed).
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne told Lowe that he thought his NBA career might be over in 2020, when the Mavericks opted to sign Trey Burke over him for the summer restart after he had played well for Dallas’ G League affiliate. However, he got an opportunity shortly thereafter with Phoenix, in large part because head coach Monty Williams had gotten to know him during their time with the Thunder.
  • Another former first-round pick, Hornets guard Malik Monk, was concerned about his NBA career last year as well, following his suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, his brother Marcus Monk told Lowe. The former Kentucky standout has enjoyed a career year while trying to let go of tension about his role, Lowe writes. “Guys who have success in college think the NBA is going to go a certain way,” Marcus said. “You think you’re invincible. Malik fell victim to that. I’m proud of how he matured.”
  • Before he signed a one-year, $6MM contract with the Knicks last fall, Alec Burks discussed a deal with the Bulls, according to Lowe. Burks’ familiarity with Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant from their time in Utah was a factor in his decision to choose New York.
  • After an underwhelming stint in Denver, Isaiah Hartenstein has played well for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 16 games (17.9 MPG). Lowe says he wouldn’t be surprised if Hartenstein turns down his minimum-salary player option for 2021/22 to seek a new deal.