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Casting a wider net on who Nets might add later this month

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Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It’s pretty much a given that the Nets will convert Chris Chiozza’s contract from a two-way to a standard deal once teams are permitted to add players on June 22 (assuming that the new rules reported by ESPN hold).

But what about the other spot the Nets should be able to fill now that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have said their seasons are done? Alex Schiffer of The Athletic tries his hand at roster management and thinks there are some interesting possibilities for that second spot.

Justin Anderson would seem to be a leading candidate. The Nets first signed the 6’6” 3-and-D swingman to a 10-day back in January. Then, after he was sent back to the Raptors 905, Long Island traded for his G League rights, sending Henry Ellenson to Toronto’s affiliate. Since then, Anderson has averaged 20 points a game for Long Island. He’s also close to Joe Harris from their days at UVA.

And, don’t forget Devin Cannady, the 6’2” Long Island sharpshooter —and recent Princeton grad, writes Schiffer. He spent time in Nets training camp, then was assigned to Long Island where he played the whole season, averaging 14.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 35.8 percent from deep, taking more than eight three’s per contest ... “all while commuting to Princeton on off-days to finish his degree,” as Schiffer notes.

But Schiffer casts a wide net that Long Island in his analysis. What about, he asks, Iman Shumpert? Trey Burke? Tyler Johnson? Tyronne Wallace? Even Allen Crabbe?!? They’re all available, eligible, healthy and fill a need. He likes Shumpert’s chances. After all, he filled in after Caris LeVert went down.

Shumpert signed when LeVert injured his thumb and appeared in 13 games for the Nets in November and December. He averaged only 4.2 points per game, but was easily the Nets’ best defender. Shumpert was signed partly because of his ties to former coach Kenny Atkinson, who was with the 29-year-old on the Knicks as an assistant coach, and Shumpert was a hit in the Brooklyn locker room. He has extensive playoff experience from his time with the Cavaliers. The Nets could use more lockdown defenders, especially since losing Nwaba shortly after Shumpert’s release. When the Nets parted ways with him, he tweeted that he had a blast. Based on familiarity and personnel, a reunion makes a lot of sense.

Of course, the Nets made both Johnson and Crabbe very rich men, forcing their teams to pay out big bucks to retain them back in 2016. Then, the Nets traded for Crabbe before trading him a salary dump so they could save cap space.

[I]njuries derailed his Nets tenure. This season, he averaged only 5.1 points per game in Atlanta and was waived just nine games after being traded to Minnesota. Since he’s familiar with the Nets and their roster, Crabbe would know how he fits with the current personnel and would provide depth on the wing.

But Crabbe wasn’t that happy when the Nets dumped him last June. Still, bygones can become bygones with the help of a paycheck. He’s still only 28 and has been getting healthier.

The Nets and other NBA teams have restrictions on who they can sign. Eligibility will reportedly be limited to players who were on NBA or G League rosters ... or were in NBA training camps back in October. Players like Jamal Crawford who didn’t take the court this season can’t be signed, at least under the reported rules. Also, those who played overseas this year —whether they hold U.S. passports or not— aren’t eligible. That would prohibit the Nets from signing any of their five stashes.

Probably, the most interesting name out there (who has NOT been linked to the Nets) is DeMarcus Cousins, who the Lakers waived back in February. How healthy is he? He’s been rehabbing from a torn ACL torn last August.