Although it’s been reported that Justin Anderson is joining the Nets as Brooklyn’s final substitute signing, there’s been no official word he’s put ink to paper with the team. There’s also been more recent reports that the Nets have been talking to Lance Thomas for that same substitute slot.
All that said, in an interview Monday with a University of Virginia podcast, Anderson says he’s in Orlando waiting out his quarantine ... and will play with the Nets.
Anderson, who played for the Long Island Nets and had a 10-day deal with Brooklyn in January, accepts congratulations on joining the Nets during the interview and spoke about his current situation from a hotel room. Anderson said he arrived in Orlando on Sunday “and I’m following protocol right now.”
“I had a negative test. I’m waiting on the next result and I’m going to have another one. They could be knocking on my door anytime soon,” he told Jason Williford, the assistant UVA coach who recruited him. He referred to his situation as a “very strict protocol.”
He also discussed the “process” that led him to join the Nets, noting Brooklyn was among several teams that approached him about joining them in the “bubble.”
“It was a long process,” said Anderson. “I was in Atlanta training and was talking to Mark (Bartelstein, his agent) and he said, ‘the season is a go. As of now, we just have to figure out a team and a roster spot.’ He said there’s a few teams interested and he named a few. It was just a matter of who was going to select me,” he told Williford and Mark Jerome.
“Brooklyn kinda swept in late with Wilson Chandler recognizing that he wasn’t going to go down and play. They came in late and they weren’t part of that list actually. But they came in, given the experience I had with the team already with the G League with the Nets, the Long Island Nets and my 10-day contract there,” he added.
“So, they saw some potential with me helping them in their playoff push. I remember getting that call. I woke up and my agent, Mark, called me up, said, ‘hey, we found a team. Somebody wants us and we’re going to Brooklyn.’”
Anderson added that he saw the “bubble” as a “business trip” that he hoped he can parlay into a contract with Nets next season. (Substitute players can only be signed for the “bubble.”)
The 6’6”, 235 pound swingman also noted that with him and Joe Harris, his college teammate, “on the same team again,” he has an insight into what the Nets are doing every day in practice.
“Joe, you know, he has a flow to him, got his hair flowed back. He’s loving life. You know, he experienced some stuff early on. He’s actually very happy that he went through what he went through earlier rather than late. So he’s ready to thrive. He’s feeling good.
“He’s the one who’s been keeping me on the loop, keeping me updated on ‘hey, today in practice, we just played. How’s your body feeling. This is some of the stuff we’re talking about doing. So, it’s really good to have some sort of intell, if you will, to keep me in the loop, to keep me prepared so when I hit the ‘bubble,’ I can hit the ground running, have a little bit of an advantage, rather than feeling I’m always playing catch-up.”
He also said he expects Harris to play a leadership role in Orlando.
“But as far as Joey, you know Joey. Always thankful, always appreciative of everything. He’s just gonna work his butt off, looking at this as an opportunity to get Brooklyn to the playoffs and push through the playoffs. With the lack of guys on our roster, with the lack of depth, he steps up into that leadership role.”
Anderson said he brought a PlayStation with him to Orlando, but said he expects to spend most of his time finishing up his degree at UVA.
- Justin Anderson sheds light on his mysterious Nets status - Brian Lewis - New York Post