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The Nets “almost” backcourt plays in Miami

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets backcourt has become a problem, particularly at the point. Injuries to Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez has made a rebuilding year even worse. And then, you are faced with what might have been, as the organization was Monday night in Miami.

Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters combined for 36 points and 14 assists. Johnson had 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Waiters, on the other hand, had 19 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three three-points. He also won the Player of the Week award in the East, averaging 15.8 points over the past five games.

That’s too bad because as Brian Lewis notes the Nets had talked to both over the summer and both wanted to join the Nets.

The Nets met with Dion Waiters this summer and inked Tyler Johnson to an offer sheet, but in the end they didn’t get either free-agent guard. On Monday, the Heat duo walked off the court with their eighth straight win while Brooklyn dropped its sixth consecutive tilt.

The Nets signed Johnson to a $50 million, four-year offer sheet, but Miami’s owner, Micky Arison famously said he wasn’t going to let the Nets “poach” his players and matched .. but only after realizing Dwyane Wade was headed to Chicago. If Arison had relented and given Wade what he wanted, Johnson would like be a Net today.

Waiters wanted to play for the Nets too, as Lewis notes, but after a meeting in Las Vegas and a front office debate, Brooklyn passed. Waiters, although a talented player, was seen as a disruptive force while in OKC. So, Waiters signed a $6 million, two year deal with Miami, the second year a player option which now he will no doubt exercise and become a free agent again.

It’s not as if the Nets didn’t wind up with some talented backcourt players, particularly the two rookies in Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead, but once again, there will be the inevitable “what might have been” debate among fans and maybe the front office.