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Next (big) man up: Nets likely to sign a DeAndre Jordan ‘substitute’

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Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Listening to Jacque Vaughn Saturday — and Sean Marks last Wednesday — it seems quite likely that the Nets are ready to sign a big man to help out Jarrett Allen now that he is, in his own words, “the last big man standing.”

With DeAndre Jordan opting out after a positive test for the coronavirus and Nicolas Claxton out after season-ending shoulder, Allen is the lone true center on the Nets and the only player taller than 6’10”. Although Rodions Kurucs has been described as “a 3-and-D wing in the body of a small ball center,” the Nets will need more than that.

The impression, particularly in Vaughn’s comments on the Nets Zoom call Saturday is that whoever Brooklyn signs as replacement for Jordan and Claxton will get significant minutes in Orlando. On Wednesday, Marks hinted that if and when the Nets sign what will officially be a “substitute” player, they’ll be evaluated as a possible free agent signing down the road.

Vaughn noted the Nets need extra bodies with only 12 healthy players, adding that he spoke with Marks Saturday morning about addressing the Nets lack of size.

“Overall, we have to have as many bodies as possible going into Orlando,” Vaughn said. “We have eight games in 14 days, so the demand on our athletes, the more available bodies we have the better off we’ll be for sure.

“We have to definitely think about that,” Vaughn said when asked about signing a big-for-big. “Sean and I talked this morning on a call and we talked about addressing our size and not putting extra demand on Jarrett. So that could definitely be a route we take for sure.”

On Wednesday’s Zoom chat with reporters, Marks brought up the possibility of adding new players for evaluation purposes.

“We look at this as another one of those opportunities,” Marks said talking about the “bubble.” “Obviously, we won’t have our team at full strength, without a doubt, but it’s a great way to evaluate players moving forward. Maybe some new players coming in and what the roster may look like, you know, in a three, four, six months from now sort of thing.”

The Nets would be limited in who they sign. As a substitute for Jordan, the player could only be signed for the duration of the “bubble” and for a set percentage of the vets minimum. Although the front office would get a close-up look at the player as a possible free agent come October, the player would be unrestricted. And barring a trade or any other injuries, etc, the Nets when healthy will have a full complement of bigs with Allen, Jordan and Claxton.

The list of potential replacements is a mix of G Leaguers and young NBA veterans headlined by Dragan Bender and Isaiah Hartenstein. It appears however that Hartenstein would not be available for the post-season. The Rockets waived him after signing ex-Net David Nwaba.

Two days ago, our Matt Brooks and Chris Milholen discussed the possibilities on the Basketball and More podcast.