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Bruce Brown to return to Nets on qualifying offer, James Johnson joining on one-year deal

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Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets - Game One Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

With the free-agent market dried up, Bruce Brown is betting on himself and returning to Brooklyn, signing the qualifying offer of $4.7 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Brown, who hit the free-agent market as a restricted free agent, will once again test the market next offseason but will be unrestricted. By signing the qualifying offer, Brown has a no-trade clause for next season, meaning he must approve any trade. He would’ve been a hard player to replace if lost in free agency.

The signing is a bonus for the Nets. Brown’s value had been projected as high as $8 to $10 million, a number that the Nets wouldn’t have matched.

Following the Nets Game 7 loss to the Bucks, Brown expressed his interest in staying with Brooklyn.

“I hope I’m here. I know my contract is up, but I hope I’m staying in Brooklyn. I love playing with these guys. They made me better this year,” Brown said.

Brown posted single-season career-highs in FG % (.556), effective FG % (.576) and RPG (5.4) while boating an offensive rating of 115.9 (career-high), defensive rating of 112.4, and net rating of 3.5 (career-high). He reached double figures 27 times and averaged 8.8 points in 22.3 minutes under a unique role with the Nets, highlighted by his gritty play and tenacious perimeter defense.

Shortly after the Brown news broke, Wojnarowski reported veteran James Johnson has agreed to a one-year deal with Brooklyn.

Johnson, who will be joining his 10th NBA team, excluding his two stops in the G League, helps patch the void of Jeff Green — who signed with the Nuggets on a two-year, $10 million — bringing positional versatility defensively.

The 6’7,” 240-pound veteran power forward can guard 3 through 5 and is well known for his gritty toughness on the hardwood. Off the hardwood, Johnson also brings a veteran presence to the Nets locker room.

The price tag for the three free-agent signings Brooklyn put together in the first 18 hours of free agency (Blake Griffin, Brown and Johnson), the price amount to only $7 million. The Nets retain the taxpayer's mid-level (MLE) — at $5.9 million which the largest deal Brooklyn can hand out to a single player.

Meanwhile, the Nets are the Wizards are still trying to finalize a sign-and-trade built around Spencer Dinwiddie. As Quinton Mayo — a Wizards insider for BetMGM who first reported the ongoing transaction — noted, the deal is complicated.

Danny LeRoux and Fred Katz of The Athletic suggested much the same thing in an article on the Wizards options.

Possibly the easiest way to do this is to include Dinwiddie in the yet-to-become-official Russell Westbrook trade with the Lakers, which is already a three-teamer, since it includes the Pacers sending Aaron Holiday to D.C., too. Westbrook’s salary is so massive that the Wizards could loop Dinwiddie in with up to a $19.5 million 2021-22 salary and the money would still work.

But what is the Lakers’ incentive to help the Nets, a team they could meet in the Finals next year, when they have already agreed to a deal with Washington and Indiana? Could they ask for something in addition to what they are already receiving to get this done?

Don’t anything much before Friday. That’s the first day the Westbrook traded can be executed.