The Nets just put the finishing touch on the most expansive training-camp battle in the NBA.
Brooklyn has just 12 players with guaranteed salaries, presumably leaving three openings on the regular-season roster. The Nets have signed their eighth player on an unguaranteed or partially guaranteed contract, bringing their roster to the offseason limit of 20.
The Brooklyn Nets have signed center Chris Daniels, General Manager Billy King announced today.
The eight Nets competing for three regular-season roster spots:
Brooklyn could go a lot of ways with this, but it’s hard to see Daniels – who went undrafted out of at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2008 and has played overseas and in the D-League since – winning a spot.
Save Jones, Daniels is older than the rest of the group by four years. But Jones had a lengthy NBA career. Daniels never played in the league. If he didn’t look like an NBA player when he was younger, it’s unlikely Daniels becomes one at age 31.
Yanick Moreira averaged 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in the 2014 World Cup, each mark higher than any Team USA player – including Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins – posted.
Of course, the driving factor was Angola’s need for Moreira to carry the team. The Americans were more balanced. Three other players – Andray Blatche, Hamed Haddadi and Luis Scola – bested both Moreira’s scoring and rebounding numbers in the tournament.
But Moreira handling so much responsibility in the premier international basketball event outside the Olympics says something about his ability. All three of those other players (Blatche, Haddadi and Scola) have played in the NBA.
Will Moreira follow them?
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Moreira becomes the seventh Net without a fully guaranteed salary – joining Quincy Miller, Dahntay Jones, Willie Reed, Donald Sloan, Markel Brown and Ryan Boatright. That’ll be one heck of a training-camp competition for Brooklyn’s final three regular-season roster spots.
And I think Moreira has a chance, though we know more about him than his spectacular World Cup.
He also represented Angola in this year’s AfroBasket, spent a couple seasons at Southern Methodist and went undrafted in June. The 6-foot-11 center is a good athlete for his size, but at age 24, he’s not quite as polished as you’d hope. He can finish around the basket, though his rim protection – especially for his height – is questionable.
But there are flaws in the other six Nets vying to make the team. It might come down to Moreira vs. Reed to become the third center behind Brook Lopez and Andrea Bargnani.
The Nets bought the rights to No. 59 pick Xavier Thames on draft night last year, but they didn’t sign him. He spent the season overseas and in the D-League.
To keep Thames’ rights, the Nets would have had to offer him the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the league minimum – by last Monday.
They didn’t do that.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:
The Nets didn’t extend the tender, because they feared Thames would have accepted it. If he had declined, they would have kept his rights for another year without having to pay him or use a roster spot on him.
If he had accepted, they could have waived him without paying him before the regular season. Essentially, Brooklyn would have gotten a potentially free training-camp tryout from Thames.
Emphasis on “potentially,” though. If Thames got hurt, his contract would have become guaranteed until he got healthy. Brooklyn obviously didn’t think Thames justified that risk.
This is good news for the six Nets without guaranteed salaries: Quincy Miller, Dahntay Jones, Donald Sloan, Willie Reed, Markel Brown and Ryan Boatright. They’ll compete with one fewer player for the three regular-season roster spots behind the 12 Nets with guaranteed salaries. (Unless Brooklyn signs another, better player now that Thames is out of the picture. Then, the six are obviously worse off.)