LaMarcus Aldridge

Nets Notes: Griffin, Aldridge, Two-Way Slot, Harden, Irving, Thomas

The Nets are likely to move away from their approach of spreading the court and could field one of the tallest rotations in the league, writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. That decision was forced partially by the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving, but Brooklyn focused heavily on the frontcourt in its offseason moves, re-signing Blake Griffin and adding veteran big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap.

Griffin played alongside center Nicolas Claxton with the first unit in Saturday’s practice, Winfield notes, but he frequently started at center after joining the team last season and can be effective at either position. Millsap and Aldridge have spent most of their careers as power forwards, but they will also see time in the middle.

“It’s not a traditional big lineup. Blake can switch a lot. I can switch at times. (Kevin Durant) can do it all,” Aldridge said. “I think it’s a big lineup, but it’s not traditional. You’re going to need that. I think teams can play big and play small, and I think having the ability to do both is nice for us.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets’ decision to give David Duke Jr. their final two-way spot and waive Devontae Cacok was based on their philosophy related to two-way deals, Winfield adds. “I think it’s more development at this point,” coach Steve Nash said. “I think when you look at a team like this, it’s hard for those guys fighting for two-way spots to be guys that are playing in the rotation. So it’s not impossible, but it’s more of a development spot, someone that we can groom and help grow into a piece of this organization’s future.”
  • The Nets were determined to trade for James Harden last season because they already had doubts about whether they could trust Irving, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Woj added that Brooklyn and Philadelphia haven’t discussed a trade involving Irving and Ben Simmons, and he doesn’t believe the Sixers would have any interest in such a deal. He also said the Nets are preparing to play the entire season without Irving.
  • Cameron Thomas put together a strong preseason after being named co-MVP of the Summer League, but he’s still not likely to have a spot in the Nets’ rotation, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Brooklyn has an experienced backcourt after the offseason additions of Patty Mills and Jevon Carter, and there may not be many minutes available for the rookie guard. “I think there’s some ground for him to make up, but we love him as a player and think he’s got a bright future, but it might take some time,” Nash said. “He’s joined a pretty tough team to crack into.”

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.

Nets Notes: Carter, Aldridge, Jordan, Millsap

The Nets will open their preseason Sunday afternoon against the Lakers, but most of their big names won’t be playing, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The expected starting five of Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris and Blake Griffin will all be held out of the game, along with offseason additions Patty Mills and James Johnson. Coach Steve Nash explained that he didn’t want to put his best players on the court six days after the opening of training camp.

“The game came so quickly, preseason, and we have three more,” Nash said. “We’ll hold back some guys, and other guys will get more opportunity.”

Among the players who will see more court time is fourth-year guard Jevon Carter, who was acquired from the Suns in an offseason deal. Carter averaged just 12 minutes per game with Phoenix last season and is aiming for a spot in Brooklyn’s rotation.

“I’m just expecting to go out there and just do my job, honestly. Whatever comes with it comes with it,” Carter said. “They told me just keep doing what I’m doing. They just kept telling me that they like what I’m doing, and just go out there, stay aggressive and lead the group.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Sunday will mark the first game action for LaMarcus Aldridge since he received medical clearance to start playing again, Lewis adds. “I think LaMarcus will play,” Nash said. “Nobody’s going to play a ton, so we’ll spread it around pretty evenly. We don’t want anyone doing too much and exposing themselves this early. Hopefully he plays enough that he feels good about it, and at the same time isn’t playing too much.”
  • The Nets will have a quick reunion with DeAndre Jordan, who spent the past two seasons in Brooklyn before being traded last month, notes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Jordan says he still has a lot of friends on the team, but he’s concentrating now on helping the Lakers. “I got a lot of love for those guys over there,” he said. “So I’m not thinking about ‘Oh, I should’ve stayed.’ I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about where I’m at now and my focus is here with this group of guys.”
  • Free agent addition Paul Millsap is willing to accept a reduced role to help the Nets win a title, per Tom Dowd of The 36-year-old was fully aware of what would be expected when he chose to sign with Brooklyn. “This team is not going to need me to get out there and go to work on the block and score 15, 20 points,” he said. “I understand that. Knowing my role on this team is going to be big and crucial and everybody knowing their role is going to be big and crucial to winning.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Harden, Millsap, Aldridge

Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who reportedly hasn’t received the COVID-19 vaccine, deflected questions about his vaccination status when he spoke to reporters on Zoom today, as Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN write.

Irving presumably wasn’t able to attend Brooklyn’s Media Day in person due to New York’s regulations prohibiting unvaccinated individuals from indoor venues, but he repeatedly requested privacy when asked about that issue, telling reporters he’d provide more information at a later date.

“I know that I’ll be there every day no matter what and just be present for my teammates as one of the leaders on the team and be there for my growing tribe off the court,” Irving said. “I know the focus has to be at an all-time high, no distractions. This is the last thing I wanted to create, was more distractions and more hoopla and more drama around this. I’m doing my best to maintain this with good intentions and a good heart.”

The Nets’ training camp is taking place in San Diego, so Irving will be able to take part in it. However, once the team returns to New York, he won’t be able to practice at Brooklyn’s facility or play in home games unless he gets vaccinated or receives an exemption.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Both Irving and James Harden confirmed they’ve talked to the Nets about potential contract extensions, but indicated they’re not rushing into new deals. “I’m focused on trying to bring a championship to the city. But as far as an extension, I’m just being patient with it,” Harden said, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes. “I went through a lot last year and I want to make sure I’m in the right mind set and knowing long-term that ultimately I want to be in Brooklyn for the rest of my career. So it’s no rush.”
  • Irving offered the following comments on his own extension talks, according to Zagoria: “I’m just taking it one day at a time, and I’m same as James, just being patient and we’re still openly communicating and just wait and see. We know that the future is on our side, just being able to maximize our potential in these next coming years.”
  • Speaking today to reporters, Paul Millsap said he chose to sign with the Nets in free agency because earning a championship ring is his top priority and he believes it’s “definitely possible” in Brooklyn (Twitter link via Zagoria). Millsap drew interest from a handful of teams as a free agent, including some that might’ve given him a larger role.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge said he talked to one other team in free agency, but preferred to return to the Nets, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Aldridge added that he announced his retirement in the spring following his health scare because he didn’t want to leave the Nets hanging while he figured out his situation (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). Once he had more time to evaluate all his options this summer, he realized he wanted to resume playing.

Nets Notes: Marks, Big Three, Aldridge, Two-Way Slot

The Nets welcome their role as favorites as the new season approaches, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn was expected to win the title last season after acquiring James Harden to go with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but injuries made it rare that all three were on the court at the same time. With a deeper bench to to back up the Big Three, the Nets are honest about what they hope to accomplish.

“Our goal is to be the last team standing,” general manager Sean Marks said. “There’s probably, six, eight, 10 teams that have that same similar goal, and a realistic one. For us it’s about owning that and not shying away from it and doing everything we possibly can … to try and accomplish that. We’ve also got to take into account that it’s a long season. Anything can happen, as we’ve seen over the course of last year.”

Marks has been hoping to negotiate extensions with all three stars to give the team a championship window that will last for several years. He reached a four-year deal with Durant last month and would like to have similar arrangements soon with Harden and Irving.

“We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions,” Marks said. “Those guys know exactly how we feel, and they’ve been vocal about wanting to be part of this and build this together. We’ve got an opportunity to hopefully build something special here for the foreseeable future. … They want to collaborate, they want to come here together, they want to build this together.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets were thrilled to bring back LaMarcus Aldridge, who received medical clearance this summer after being forced into retirement last season with a heart condition, per Greg Logan of Newsday. Aldridge provides some familiarity for a team that returns just eight players from last year’s postseason squad. “I thought he added a lot to our room,” coach Steve Nash said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of him on the floor, but he was an experienced, skilled, versatile big that knows how to play and was adding a lot to our collective IQ. So we’re excited to have him back.”
  • Brooklyn got a grade of B-plus for its offseason moves from Zach Harper of The Athletic. The addition of Aldridge, along with Patty Mills and Paul Millsap, gives the Nets a collection of low-cost veterans who can complement their stars, Harper states.
  • The battle for an open two-way slot will be one of the intriguing things to watch in training camp, writes Tom Dowd of Rookie free agent David Duke Jr. and recently signed Devontae Cacok will be among the candidates, but the Nets could decide to leave the position open and wait for cuts from other teams, like they did when they signed Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot in 2019.

Nets Notes: Extension Talks, Vaccinations, Two-Way Slot, Aldridge

With a week left until training camp commences for the Nets, general manager Sean Marks expressed optimism during a press conference today that the club will be able to come to terms on contract extensions for All-Star guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving, writes Peter Botte of the New York Post.

“Regarding the extension conversations, we’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys and whether it’s family members, (their) people, and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” Marks said.  “We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”

As Botte writes, Irving is eligible to sign a contract that tacks on an additional four years and $181.6MM to his current agreement. Harden, the better player, can agree to terms on an extension that would pay him $161.1MM over three additional years. All-Star forward Kevin Durant signed a four-year, $197.7MM extension that will keep him on the Nets through the 2025/26 season.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets still need to get a few of their players fully vaccinated for COVID-19 so that they are permitted to practice and play in New York City under the terms of the city’s new vaccine mandate, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I won’t get into who it is, but we feel confident in the following several days before camp everybody would be allowed to participate and so forth,” Marks said about the situation. The Nets’ GM expects everyone to be vaccinated before the 2021/22 regular season begins. Per the new vaccine executive order, individuals over the age of 12 without at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will not be permitted inside certain indoor locations, including the Nets’ and Knicks’ home arenas.
  • Marks said today that the Nets will have a “healthy competition” for the team’s current available two-way contract during training camp, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). Big man Devontae Cacok and guard David Duke seem destined to be in the mix for the opening. Brooklyn still has an open spot on its 20-man roster, so the club may yet invite another candidate to compete for the second two-way slot before camp begins.
  • During a press conference today, Marks admitted he was initially wary about bringing back center LaMarcus Aldridge, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Aldridge was compelled to retire just five games after joining the Nets during the 2020/21 due to an irregular heart beat issue. “I tried to talk him out of it,” Marks said. “I said, ‘You don’t need this. Why would you come back?’ I think it was important to see his conviction, and it’s not a conviction made without really doing due diligence.” According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (via Twitter), Marks revealed that Aldridge reached out to the Nets as soon as he was medically cleared to return to the hardwood.

Nets Sign LaMarcus Aldridge, Waive Alize Johnson

6:43pm: The Nets have officially signed Aldridge, according to a team press release.

4:19pm: The Nets are signing veteran power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and have waived Alize Johnson, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Brooklyn has officially announced the release of Johnson.

Aldridge will receive a veteran’s minimum contract worth $2.6MM for one year. That was all the Nets could offer due to salary cap constraints.

Aldridge retired last season due to an irregular heartbeat, but received medical clearance to resume his career on Thursday and Brooklyn was considered his likely destination. He played five games with the Nets before the condition forced him to temporarily end his career.

“I retired in April based on what I believed was the wisest precautionary decision for my personal health at the time, but further testing and evaluation by several top physicians has convinced the doctors, myself and the Nets that I’m fully cleared and able to return to the rigors of the NBA,” Aldridge said in a statement to ESPN. “I loved my brief time with Brooklyn and am excited to rejoin the team in pursuit of a championship.”

Aldridge, who also dealt with heart issues in 2017, started talking about a comeback last month. He averaged 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21 games last season with the Spurs as the team’s starting center. San Antonio opted to go with younger players and ultimately reached a buyout agreement, allowing him to sign with Brooklyn in late March. He was waived after announcing his retirement.

Johnson, 25, appeared in 18 games for Brooklyn in 2020/21, averaging 5.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in just 10.5 minutes per contest.

Since he was on a three-year, minimum-salary contract, Johnson can’t be claimed off waivers using the minimum salary exception, but a team with a trade exception big enough to absorb his non-guaranteed $1.76MM salary could submit a claim. If he goes unclaimed, Johnson will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

Brooklyn has been quite busy this week. The team reportedly reached an agreement with free agent forward Paul Millsap and has also agreed to trade DeAndre Jordan to the Pistons along with four second-round picks and $5.78MM in cash in exchange for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya.

After officially adding Millsap and Aldridge and completing their trade with Detroit, the Nets will have 16 players on guaranteed contracts and one (DeAndre’ Bembry) on a partially guaranteed deal, meaning more roster moves will be necessary to set the 15-man regular season roster next month.

Additionally, Brooklyn is carrying a two-way player (Kessler Edwards) and another (David Duke) on an Exhibit 10 deal. The club also has two unsigned second-round picks (RaiQuan Gray and Marcus Zegarowski).

LaMarcus Aldridge Cleared To Resume NBA Career

LaMarcus Aldridge has received medical clearance to start playing basketball again, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Nets are considered the favorites to sign him, Charania adds.

Aldridge’s career came to an abrupt end in April when doctors diagnosed him with an irregular heartbeat. The discovery prompted him to announce his retirement after playing just five games with Brooklyn, but he has passed all the medical tests necessary to resume his career, according to Charania.

Aldridge, who also dealt with heart issues in 2017, started talking about a comeback last month. The seven-time All-Star now appears ready to return for a 16th NBA season.

He was productive last year in 21 games for the Spurs, averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds as the team’s starting center. However, San Antonio opted to go with younger players and took Aldridge out of the rotation before ultimately reaching a buyout agreement. He signed with Brooklyn in late March, but experienced the health scare two weeks later and was eventually waived.

The Nets are facing a potential roster crunch after reportedly reaching an agreement with free agent forward Paul Millsap earlier today. However, Brooklyn could open up room with a rumored buyout of veteran center DeAndre Jordan. The Nets can only offer Aldridge a veteran’s minimum contract.

Nets Notes: Mills, Jordan, Millsap, Aldridge, Duke

Longtime Spurs guard Patty Mills was attracted to the Nets because of a couple of familiar faces there, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Mills, who agreed to a two-year, $12MM contract to come to Brooklyn, joins general manager Sean Marks and lead assistant Jacque Vaughn, who both spent time in San Antonio while Mills was there and have adopted some of the Spurs’ philosophies.

“To know free agency was going to be right in the middle of (the Olympics) definitely did make it quite tough,” Mills said. “The thing for me was not being able to have the conversations I wish I would’ve had leading into such a big decision. But turning to a new chapter and going to a new place, it was definitely something that knowing that we know people throughout the organization and in the city as well, it was comforting to know there are people there that look after us and look after my family.”

Another influence was a long talk that Mills had in Tokyo with Nets star Kevin Durant. Brooklyn made a strong effort to recruit Mills when free agency began, and he said the chance to exchange ideas with Durant influenced his decision.

“The conversation I had with Kevin was so pure and so genuine, being able to understand that he’s such a true pure hooper, and to go back-and-forth about basketball specifics,” Mills said. “It’s exciting for me to know there’s an opportunity there for me to try to be who I am. After a good Tokyo Olympics campaign, being able to ride the wave of that momentum and take it into Brooklyn is something I’m looking forward to … share the court with guys like that, I’m really going to continue to learn about the game and continue to get better myself and find little ways that I can do that.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • DeAndre Jordan isn’t likely to be on the Nets’ roster when training camp begins next month, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. The 33-year-old center, who is owed close to $20MM over the next two seasons, has been on the trade market all summer, according to Schiffer, but Brooklyn hasn’t found any takers.
  • The Nets would like to add another veteran big man, Schiffer states in the same piece, and while Paul Millsap may be out of their price range, a reunion with LaMarcus Aldridge seems more realistic. Millsap is reportedly looking at teams that still have their mid-level exception, and Brooklyn is limited to a minimum-salary contract. Schiffer notes that Aldridge played well in his five games with the team last season and enjoyed the experience, but isn’t certain to get medical clearance after being forced into retirement by an irregular heartbeat.
  • David Duke Jr. appears to be the favorite for the Nets’ open two-way spot, but a final decision probably won’t be made before training camp, Schiffer adds.

Central Notes: Bulls, Garza, Mobley, Rubio, Lowe

As our latest roster count notes, the Bulls only have 12 players on guaranteed contracts. Veteran free agent forwards Paul Millsap and James Ennis are some of the candidates to fill a couple of those open roster spots, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. LaMarcus AldridgeJarred Vanderbilt and Svi Mykhailiuk are three other free agents that the Bulls could c0nsider, Schaefer adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Despite a strong showing in summer league action, Pistons center Luka Garza is unlikely to get rotation minutes during his rookie campaign, Rod Beard of the Detroit News speculates. He might get more of an opportunity if Detroit, which has one too many guaranteed contracts, opts to waive Jahlil Okafor. There’s also a good chance Sekou Doumbouya will spend a chunk of time this upcoming season in the G League unless he shines in training camp, Beard writes.
  • The Cavaliers improved their talent pool this offseason in the estimation of Zach Harper of The Athletic. The addition of lottery pick Evan Mobley gives them a potential star at both ends of the floor, and the acquisition of Ricky Rubio provides much needed veteran leadership in the backcourt. However, they’re still a little thin depth-wise at the wing and forward spots, Harper notes.
  • The Cavaliers have officially added Sidney Lowe to J.B. Bickerstaff’s coaching staff, according to a team press release. The news that Lowe was leaving the Pistons’ staff to join their Central Division rival surfaced two weeks ago. “Sidney brings a wealth of coaching experience and familiarity to our staff,” Bickerstaff said. “He is a great teacher of the game and his ability to build lasting relationships across the board is integral to the growth of our overall culture here in Cleveland.”