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Despite rumors, Paul Millsap and J.J. Redick seem unlikely to join Nets

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Utah Jazz v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets roster situation remains a work in progress. They have 15 players standard NBA contracts (including one non-guaranteed, one partially guaranteed); one on a two-way deal and one on an Exhibit 10 training camp contract. The other two-way deal is open and two of their five 2021 draft picks remain unsigned.

But persistent rumors of Nets “interest” in Paul Millsap and J.J. Redick don’t seem realistic. The two, the oldest remaining free agents at 36 and 37, have yet to sign anywhere and according to reports Wednesday, they may have to wait until after the season begins to get a roster spot ... anywhere.

As Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report writes, Millsap appears to have priced himself out of the market while Redick has an injury issue that needs to be dealt with. Millsap, says Fischer, wants both a defined role on a contender and more than the vets’ minimum. “Millsap is looking for a richer payday,” writes Fischer.

Yet there’s a limit to how much teams are willing to spend on an aging role player showing obvious signs of decline. It’s not hard to imagine how a 15-year pro, who earned nearly $100 million over the last four years, would find difficulty sliding into a veteran minimum spot while still bringing positive net value on both sides of the floor.

Moreover, the Nets feel very comfortable with two of their players already under contract: Blake Griffin and James Johnson, both more than three years younger. Also, unless they decide to dump Alize Johnson before he gets his first guaranteed payment, $100,000 on September 4, the Nets don’t have an open roster spot.

Redick is a different issue, writes Fischer. It’s about his injured foot. Earlier this month, he revealed he has a condition called Haglund’s deformity, an overgrown heel bone. He also noted on his podcast, Old Man and the Three, that he has some tears in his Achilles’ tendon, and might need surgery, keeping him out of the league for two to three months. Fischer thinks it could be longer than that, but adds both the Nets and Knicks might give him a look once he gets healthier.

Several team executives believe two to three months, though, could be a conservative timeline. Redick, like Millsap, could linger on the league’s periphery until the calendar flips to 2022, biding his time with an eye toward joining either New York or Brooklyn, the latter borough being where Redick resides.

Fischer suggested that if there’s no interest from the New York teams, Redick might retire.

Alex Schiffer, taking questions from his mail bag, said similar things

Millsap is looking for a legitimate role on a contender, and I don’t think he’d have that in Brooklyn. He would be a great locker room presence and his defense and rebounding could help the Nets, but he’s another player whose best days are behind him. I think Johnson is worth a longer look there. Rebounding is his niche and Marks hinted that the Nets rebounding could be solved internally.

As for another Nets Twitter favorite, LaMarcus Aldridge, Schiffer noted the hurdles he’d face if he follows up on his desire to return to the NBA. A heart scare related to a condition he’s faced since his rookie year caused him to abruptly retire back in April.

He rebounded well in his five-game stint with the Nets and told our own Shams Charania that he loved his time in Brooklyn. After his retirement because of an irregular heartbeat, an NBA medical staff would have to clear Aldridge before he signed anywhere. And there would likely be questions about his conditioning after such a long layoff.

And even if the NBA’s cardiologists cleared the 35-year-old, individual teams might not be willing to take a chance on him. Moreover, he was supposed to contact prospective teams two weeks ago. No word on how that went.

What’s next for the Nets roster? It appears that James Harden and Kyrie Irving’s extensions could happen soon, with Harden reportedly going first. Both have been working out, getting back to their normal NBA selves after hamstring (Harden) and ankle (Irving) injuries.

Schiffer also suspects that DeAndre Jordan, who’s also been seen working out in southern California, will not be back with Brooklyn.

From what I’ve been hearing, I would be surprised if Jordan is a Net by the time the team heads to San Diego for training camp. He’s already been shopped throughout the draft and offseason and you can start to read the writing on the wall. Now, assuming he’s gone, I’m curious about the exit route. Is it a trade, when there has already been a lack of a market for him and the Nets lack draft capital and young talent to part with for a significant return? Buyout? Waived? Regardless, I do not expect him back.

DJ, of course, shares a long-term friendship with Irving and Kevin Durant, but he didn’t play a minute after May 8 including in the regular season and playoffs.