The Nets talked a lot about going overseas to make up for lost draft picks, and did sign two international players --Luis Scola and Greivis Vasquez -- to contracts, but the Argentine and Venezuelan are NBA veterans, not diamonds-in-rough. So the closest the Nets came was Justin Hamilton, a 7-foot American who played in Spain last season after two years on the bench in the NBA.
His signing didn't get a lot of attention, the Nets' two-year, $6 million contract with Hamilton was their third biggest of the off-season, behind Jeremy Lin's $36 million and Trevor Booker's $18.3 million. Not bad for a guy who admits he left the NBA before last season because he had no offers and was "fed up."
"After my one year in Minnesota, I was expecting a contract, one year for the minimum," Hamilton told Tony Jones of his hometown Salt Lake Tribune. "But when they didn't offer me a contract, I sort of got fed up with the system, so I decided to go to Spain and make money. But I went there with the mindset to come back to America and hopefully having another chance to play in the NBA."
Hamilton had a good year in Spain, playing for Valencia of the ACB, the second best national league in the world after the NBA. He got a chance to improve on his three point shot, hitting better than 40 percent and as Jones writes,he "changed his body over the last two years and became a beast running the floor." He attracted the attention of the Croatian national team and could have played with Bojan Bogdanovic this this summer --his mother is Croatian-- but opted to work on his NBA return
The Nets liked what they saw and reached an agreement with him on July 1.
"We thought Justin had a fantastic season over in Valencia," Kenny Atkinson said at the time of his signing. "He's a stretch five, he can extend the floor from 3-point range. But he's more than a stretch five, because he's a tough guy. He knows how to play inside and he knows how to finish around the basket."
Atkinson also said the Nets would "challenge" Hamilton on defense.
Hamilton likes what he sees in the Nets, too and predicts. "We're going to be scrappy. We're going to play hard and we're going to show up every night."
Here's some highlights from his time in Spain.