clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

It’s about development: workouts, tryouts, experiments, roster shuffling

New, comments
Westchester Knicks v Long Island Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets keep losing ... for the most part, badly. They still don’t have Jeremy Lin back and there’s no timetable for his return. Trade rumors are few and far between. Marc Stein writes that the Nets asking price for Brook Lopez is two first round picks (emphasis in the original).

But it’s not as if nothing is happening at 168 39th Street, the Nets home office. Since December 1, Sean Marks et al have been busy, just under the radar. Here’s a summary:

—Tendered a $37 million offer sheet to Donatas Motiejunas, the Rockets restricted free agent. The 26-year-old wound up with the Pelicans after a series of botched moves by his agent that denied the Nets the right to sign him. Bad luck, bad news.

—Worked out Juan Pablo Vaulet, their 20-year-old draft stash from 2015 to determine where he fits in the team’s future, putting the 6’7” swingman through a week of workouts, trying to improve his jump shot, and checking up on his health.

—Signed R.J. Hunter, 23, first round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2015, to a D-League deal. Hunter, whose smooth shooting stroke wowed NBA scouts two years ago, was cut first by the Celtics, then by the Bulls, this season. The 6’6” guard been playing for Chicago’s D-League affiliate.

—Extended the contract of Spencer Dinwiddie, also 23, for the rest of the year after calling him up from the D-League and signing him to a multi-year deal in December. The 6’6” point guard was taken 38th in the 2014 Draft, dropping because of knee surgery. He had played in 46 NBA games.

—Agreed to sign 26-year-old Quincy Acy to a 10-day deal, calling him up from the Texas Legends in the D-League. A four-year veteran of the league, the 6’9” Acy was cut in November by Dallas. He replaces development project and first overall pick, Anthony Bennett.

—Continued to monitor the progress of 21-year-old Chris McCullough at Long Island, where he played his 20th D-League game this weekend. After yo-yoing him between Brooklyn and Long Island, essentially bookkeeping moves, the front office now seems happy just to leave him with the D-League club.

Who’s going to work out? Have the Nets found a diamond-in-the-rough, like they did with Sean Kilpatrick last season? Can they find first round draft equivalents? Who knows? They seemed to have done well with their two draft picks, Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead. So it’s a start.

But this is what to expect over the rest of the season as the team’s remake continues: workouts, tryouts, experiments, roster shuffling. It’s a poor substitute for winning, and as the end of the Anthony Bennett experiment shows, it’s all not going to work.

Prior to the season, one team insider said he expected the roster in April to be much different from the one in October. Indeed, the Nets have used 18 players since Opening Night, four short of the team’s NBA record for players in one season ... and we’re still six weeks away from the trade deadline.

Fans will be able to check on progress of a couple of the moves later Tuesday. R.J. Hunter is expected to play for Long Island in the afternoon and Acy is expected to officially sign his 10-day deal and be available vs. Atlanta in the evening.