The Nets filled two of the three open spots on their roster before facing the Wizards on Sunday night in Washington. Center Norvel Pelle, who was added previously, was available for the game in the event coach Steve Nash needed a little rim protection from the defensive specialist, but Iman Shumpert was not with the team. He signed Saturday and had to test negative for COVID-19 for another six days before becoming available.
Shumpert hasn’t played since putting in a 13-game stint with the Nets early in the 2019-20 season. But that experience plus the fact that he played alongside James Harden the previous season under current Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni makes the veteran swingman a valuable addition when he is ready to go.
"I think that his personality will be important for us," Nash said. "He’s someone that has been there, done that and has familiarity with a lot of our players in the club.
"I think it gives him a leg up and it gives everyone a level of comfort with him. So I’m excited for him to join us, and it will allow us to have another veteran on the roster that can influence our group. He has a reputation of playing extremely hard, defending, doing the dirty work."
Nash said it will take time to determine what kind of shape Shumpert and Pelle are in. Pelle, a 6-10 center, last played 24 games with the 76ers during the 2019-20 season.
The Nets still have one roster spot remaining open, and forward Reggie Perry and guard Chris Chiozza are on two-way contracts. The G League Long Island Nets are practicing in the NBA bubble in Orlando before their season begins Feb. 8, but Nash said he expects Perry and Chiozza to remain with the Nets.
"It’s to be determined, but we’ve been down bodies with the [Harden] trade,’’ he said. "So I think those guys will probably stick around."