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Brooklyn Nets fill out roster with three more free agent signings

Anthony Bennett (David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony Bennett (David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

 

The Brooklyn Nets had an extremely busy Thursday, filling out their team with the additions of Joe Harris, Anthony Bennett, and veteran guard Randy Foye.  With all three players in the fold, the Nets officially have a full roster of 15 heading into the upcoming season.

The Nets added Harris early Thursday morning, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $2 million.  Fox’s Sam Amico reports that the deal is not guaranteed, meaning Harris will have to earn his spot on the team during training camp.  Harris,24, was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the 2014 draft.  He played in 51 games for the Cavaliers during his rookie year.

He appeared in only five games this past season, and was traded to the Orlando Magic in January.  The Magic waived him one week after he underwent surgery for a broken foot.  Nets assistant coach Mike Batisite and assistant GM Trajon Langdon both worked with  Harris in Cleveland, so there is a sense of familiarity there.

The Nets also signed former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett to a two-year deal.  The second year is partially guaranteed, according to sources.  The Nets and Bennett have had mutual interest since the start of the offseason.  The 6’8″ forward worked out for them in May and Brooklyn came away impressed with the 23-year-old.

Bennett is widely regarded is one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.  He was selected by the Cavaliers with the top overall selection in the 2013 draft.  He was traded along with Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the deal that brought Kevin Love to Cleveland.  The Timberwolves bought him out of his rookie contract, and he signed with his hometown Toronto Raptors, who made him an unrestricted free agent after this past season.

Bennett has reportedly lost a lot of body fat and is in great shape.  He is the fourth power forward on the roster along with Chris McCullough, Luis Scola and Trevor Booker.

Foye comes to the Nets on a one-year deal.  The Newark, New Jersey native has played for seven teams in his 10-year NBA career, spending last season with the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder.   He has averaged 10.7 points on 40 percent shooting for his career, and is seen as a positive locker room presence.

After these three deals become official, Brooklyn could have as much as $18 million remaining in cap space, which is still below the league salary floor.  They could use that space to absorb contracts during the season in exchange for draft picks.

They will also enter next offseason with a boatload of cap space, when the free agent class is much deeper.  Sean Marks has given first-year head coach Kenny Atkinson a young roster full of players with untapped potential.  Only Foye and Scola are over 30-years-old.  Atkinson is known as a great player development coach, so now it’s time to see what he can do with this team.

The Nets entered the offseason with only Brook Lopez, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sean Kilpatrick and McCullough under contract.  They added rookies Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead in the draft, and entered free-agency with close to $56 million in cap room.

They used that cap room to bring in eight free agents: Jeremy Lin, Greivis Vasquez, Justin Hamilton, Scola, Booker, Harris, Bennett and Foye.

Lin, Foye, Vasquez, Booker and Scola are grizzled NBA veterans who should help Lopez shoulder the load both on and off the court.  They will also help develop the many young guys on the roster.  All five guys can still play, and with an infusion of young talent, the Nets may not be as terrible as many NBA pundits expect them to be this season.

After years of terrible contracts, drama and early playoff exits, there is finally some reason for hope in Brooklyn, with Atkinson and Marks leading the Nets into the future.  A new era has begun.

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Jason Goldstein is a co host of the Baseline Jumper NBA podcast, recording every Tuesday night along Ben McDonald. Jason has also spent time as the Basketball Editor at DoubleGSports.com while also handling the Brooklyn Nets Lead Writer duties since October 2015.
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