Rebuilding the Nets from the ashes of a painful season is harder than it sounds — even with a fancy new training facility in Brooklyn, even with plenty of cap space and even though general manager Sean Marks seems to have no problem using it.
During the weekend, the Nets struck out twice with their sought-after restricted free agents, the Heat’s Tyler Johnson and the Trail Blazers’ Allen Crabbe, leaving them with a whole lot of money and a brand-new game plan — this one involving free-agent guard Greivis Vasquez.
Late Sunday, after Johnson and Crabbe had their pricey offer sheets matched by their teams, the Nets signed Vasquez, 29, to a one-year deal, according to a report by Yahoo Sports. The seven-year veteran played only 23 games in an injury-shortened season with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he has averaged 9.0 points and 4.8 assists in his career. The Nets have yet to confirm the signing, but the New York Post, citing league sources, reported the deal is for $5 million.
The Nets also announced that they have signed 7-foot, 260-pound center Justin Hamilton to a multiyear deal. He spent last season with Valencia in Liga ACB and averaged 14.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 40 games. He also has appeared in 49 NBA games with the Hornets, Heat and Timberwolves.
“Justin is an energetic big with the ability to stretch the floor,” Marks said. “He is coming off a successful season in one of Europe’s most competitive leagues and will add depth to our frontcourt rotation.”
The Vasquez signing didn’t put much of a dent in the Nets’ enormous cap space — about $30 million — with very few tantalizing free agents left on the market.
The Nets, who reportedly offered Johnson a four-year, $50- million offer sheet with a $19-million poison-pill provision in the final two years that was supposed to keep the Heat away, were undone by Dwyane Wade’s decision to leave Miami and join the Chicago Bulls.
Down one shooting guard, the Heat doubled down on the other, matching Johnson’s hefty offer sheet despite the 24-year-old’s lack of NBA experience — all of 68 games.
The Heat, which officially has not disclosed the terms of the deal, announced the signing Sunday night. In a statement, president Pat Riley said the Heat is “extremely happy to re-sign Tyler” and underlined his belief in the team’s young core: Johnson, Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow. The Heat also announced that it had signed former Net Wayne Ellington.
In light of Wade’s decision, re-signing Johnson wasn’t necessarily unexpected news, but it sure must have stung for the Nets — particularly because, only a little while earlier, Crabbe had announced on Twitter that he was going back to the Trail Blazers. Marks reportedly offered him a four-year, $75-million offer sheet, according to Yahoo Sports.
“RIP CITY!” Crabbe tweeted, followed by a video of him saying he was going to be back in Portland.
Crabbe, a 24-year-old shooting guard, primarily came off the bench for the Trail Blazers but played 81 games last season, averaging 10.3 points and 2.7 rebounds. He would have been a welcome addition for the Nets, who went 21-61 last season and won’t have control over their own first-round draft pick until 2019.
Hawks, Jack agree on 1-year deal
The Atlanta Hawks and point guard Jarrett Jack have agreed on a one-year contract for next season. Jack will back up Dennis Schroder. The Hawks needed an established point guard after trading Jeff Teague before the draft. Jack made several posts to his Twitter account that he was returning to Atlanta, where he helped Georgia Tech advance to the 2004 national title game. The Hawks will be Jack’s eighth team in 12 seasons. He spent the last two with the Nets, who waived him last month. Jack averaged 12.8 points and 7.4 assists in 32 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury last January.— AP