The Nets’ trade for small forward DeMarre Carroll became official Thursday. The newest Net showed up at the Las Vegas Summer League, where he told an ESPN2 crew how happy he is to be reunited with coach Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant in Atlanta when Carroll had his best years with the Hawks.
“I’m coming to what I call family,” Carroll said. “Kenny I’ve known since Atlanta, and he’s the one that helped me take my game to the next level. I’m just happy to get back under his wing.”
Atkinson returned the compliment after the Nets’ 85-74 win over the Nuggets. Asked what Carroll brings, Atkinson said, “Defense, toughness, the simplicity of his offensive game . . . Really, he’s a competitor. That’s his elite skill. He is going to be great for our culture because he works his tail off.”
The 6-8 Carroll played only 26 games during the 2015-16 season, his first with the Raptors, because he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He returned to play 72 games last season, but his average fell to 8.9 points per game and he shot 34.1 percent from three-point range, which is below his 36.1 career mark. But Carroll maintained he is “the healthiest I’ve been in years.”
The trade became official when the Wizards officially matched the Nets’ offer sheet to restricted free agent Otto Porter Jr., freeing up $24.77 million in Nets cap space. They needed part of that to fit in Carroll, who will receive $30.2 million in the final two seasons of his contract.
The eight-year veteran, who will turn 31 this month, hopes to provide leadership.
“It’s all about helping these guys grow for the future,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of talent. They were always a fighting group . . . Jeremy Lin was out a lot, but when he was playing, they played pretty well.”