As we've noted, Willie Reed is a basketball vagabond. He's played for D-League teams in Springfield, Des Moines, Reno and Grand Rapids, spent time in Eilat, Israel; Girona, Spain; and Santiago in the Dominican Republic. There were summer league stints with the Kings, Grizzlies, Pacers and this year the Heat and Nets, training camps with the Kings, Grizzlies and Nets. He's actually been on the rosters of the Grizzlies and Kings, but has never played a minute for either. Now, he's got his best chance, a one-year deal with a $500,000 guarantee.
"I've been living out of suitcases, washing my clothes the whole time, so it's been crazy," Reed told Rod Boone recently. "It's what you love to do, so it can't take a toll on you that much. But I am just happy that it ended up with this contract. That just means that everything I've been doing, all the work I've been putting in, God's blessed me with this opportunity."
The 6'11" Reed started out the summer with the Heat where his post play was so impressive that Heat beat writers were comparing him to Hassan Whiteside, the big man who nearly helped Miami get into the playoffs last season. But the Nets swooped in and offered him a partial guarantee and brought him to Las Vegas.
"The biggest thing about Willie is he's got valuable time in the D-League and he really improved on his skills," said Nets assistant coach Joe Wolf, who works closely with the team's big men and coached the . ""Overall, he's just a much better player. He understands situations and schemes better defensively. He's playing bigger than he has been and I think that's really helped him. He's an athlete."
Reed will get a chance to back up Brook Lopez and is happy for the opportunity. It comes at the right time, too. He's about to get married and have a second child later this year.
Willie Reed's perseverance pays off with roster spot on Nets - Rod Boone - Newsday