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What to expect from DeMarre Carroll?

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Suppose DeMarre Carroll isn’t just a salary dump, an overpriced player acquired so the Nets could replenish their depleted reserve of draft picks? Suppose he’s solid veteran who has a new lease on his basketball life in Brooklyn? A contributor, maybe even a starter.

That would make this month’s trade of Justin Hamilton for Carroll plus first and second rounders in this year’s draft a steal, even if he’s owed $30.2 million over the next two years. Carroll, who says he’s the healthiest he’s been in two years, is thinking that way.

“Like Kenny said, be who you were in Atlanta.” the 30-year-old small forward told Brian Lewis of the Post. He was referring to Kenny Atkinson, of course, who was an assistant when Carroll thrived with the Hawks. In his two years there, Carroll averaged better than 12 points and five and a half rounds per game and shot better than 38 percent from three. He was part of the Hawks’ best season ever, winners of 60 games in 2015-16.

Carroll had a setback not long after signing his $60 million, four-year deal with Toronto after that year, a knee injury that cost him 60 games his first year with the Raptors. Last year, although he played —and started— 72 games, he admits he never got it going physically.

“The biggest thing last year was I never got the proper strength. My body wasn’t strong enough to sustain 82 games,’’ Carroll said. “Just being here in Brooklyn, their performance team is the best I’ve had so far. They train with me every day. They’re working muscles I never even knew I had. Each day I feel my body and my knee getting stronger. I feel like it’s going to be a great season.”

Carroll wouldn’t comment on the treatment he got in Toronto. “I’ll leave that for another day.,” he said.

Also, as he told the Toronto Star, he didn’t feel he fit into the Raptors (very successful) ISO-dominated offense and thinks working again with Atkinson could help him improve on the last two years.

“Yeah man, it’s a reunion,” Carroll said in his first interview with the local media. “It’s basically like going off to college and coming back to your family. I feel like it’s my family. This is where I belong, and where I’m comfortable at.”