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Nets send DeAndre Jordan, four seconds, cash to Pistons; waive Alize Johnson; sign LaMarcus Aldridge

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

In a series of unexpected moves Friday afternoon, Sean Marks remade a big part of the Nets roster, dumping DeAndre Jordan for two young bigs, waiving Alize Johnson and bringing back LaMarcus Aldridge on a vets minimum deal. By Saturday morning, the trade and Aldridge signings were official and Marks thanked DJ…

“We appreciate everything DeAndre has contributed to our organization over the past two seasons both on and off the court and wish him and his family the best moving forward,” said the Nets GM.

The details:

  • Sean Marks reportedly traded Jordan to the Pistons, along with four second rounders along with $5.78 million in cash, the maximum allowed. In return, the Nets get 20-year-old forward Sekou Doumbouya and Jahlil Okafor. The fate of Doumbouya and Okafor remains uncertain. The two have a combined salary of $5.7 million, $3.6 million of which is Doumbouya.
  • The Nets also created a trade exception, a league source tells NetsDaily. Bobby Marks of ESPN put the number at $6.3 million. That is in addition to the $11.5 million TPE from the Spencer Dinwiddie trade. It’s questionable with the Nets luxury tax situation that they will ever use them. The two exceptions will expire in a year. The Nets have never had two TPE’s that big. In 2004-05, they had exceptions of $10.4 million and $5 million.
  • Of the four seconds sent to Detroit, only two are the Nets own picks: those in 2022, likely to be in the 50’s, and 2027. The other two, in 2024 and 2025 were acquired from the Wizards and Warriors in sign-and-trades for Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell. The Nets still retain their own second-rounders in 2024, 2026 and 2028 as well as the lesser of their pick and Atlanta’s in 2023. They traded their first rounders in 2022, 2024 and 2026 as well as first round swaps in 2023, 2025 and 2027 to Houston in James Harden trade earlier this year.
  • The Nets waived Johnson, who was non-guaranteed and on the second year of a three-year deal.
  • Then, in the least unexpected of the Friday moves, the Nets re-signed Aldridge five months after he retired because of a heart issue and a day after it was reported he has been cleared to return to action. With the subtraction of Jordan and Johnson, the addition of Doumbouya, Okafor and Aldridge plus the presumed signing of Paul Millsap, the Nets are at 17 standard NBA contracts, one of which — DeAndre’ Bembry — is partially guaranteed.

With the trade and other moves, the Nets have only seven players left from Game 7 of the Bucks series.

Most pundits thought Marks would buy out the 33-year-old Jordan. Instead, he was able to trade him get a possible return in Doumbouya and a trade exception. The biggest rationale for the trade, however, had to be the luxury tax savings.

Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news in a series of tweets late Friday afternoon.

Woj and Shams Charania reported that Jordan will, after the Pistons buyout, head to the Lakers. Jordan’s off-season home is in Malibu. The news, of course, comes one day after Shams Charania reported that Millsap has agreed to sign with the Nets for the vets minimum. Millsap has already posted an image of himself in a Jean-Michel Basquiat-inspired Nets jersey and thanked the Nuggets organization and their fans for his four years in the Mile High City. That deal has not yet been official.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN gave the Nets an A — and the Pistons a C+ — in his trade grades. Here’s an excerpt of his analysis...

Fortunately, Brooklyn had amassed several additional second-round picks in a variety of trades to use in this one. The Nets still have their own second-rounders in 2024, 2026 and 2028 as well as the lesser of their pick and Atlanta’s in 2023. To pull this kind of savings off without giving up a first-rounder has to feel like a win for Brooklyn even if it means the Nets can’t use cash in a trade the rest of this league year.

Although it seems likely that Okafor will be cut, there’s question about Doumbouya who had been essentially forgotten by the Pistons last season in the wake of a changed leadership in the organization. In fact, he is the last player that new GM Troy Weaver inherited when he took the job a year ago.

The 15th pick in the 2019 Draft, Doumbouya has shown flashes, particularly in his rookie year. As Pelton noted, “Doumbouya burst on the scene in January 2020, when he averaged 14.0 points per game and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first eight starts as a teenager in place of the injured Blake Griffin.” That was not sustainable, as Pelton writes, pointing to Doumbouya’s 25 percent shooting from three since those early days.

Both Griffin and Bruce Brown were teammates with Doumbouya in Detroit and he worked out in L.A. last summer with Kevin Durant and other Nets players.

Here’s a film study on Doumbuoya from our Pistons counterpart, Detroit Bad Boys. First his strengths...

Then, his weaknesses...

Bottom line, for Brady Fredricksen of Detroit Bad Boys

The best version of Sekou is one who can step out and hit a three but is better off bullying his way past smaller forwards to get near the basket. Right now, he gets close enough to where he can back down and get a shot up, but he’s not getting to the rim. Once he captures that balance of body control and basketball skill, his athleticism will shine in the half-court, and he won’t be relegated to spacing the floor. The Pistons were bad with him on the floor both offensively and defensively. They were slightly less bad with him off the court. Sekou wasn’t a problem, but he was definitely not a solution, either.

Moreover, after the Draft, the Pistons had no room for him on their roster, with Cade Cunningham, Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Hamidou Diallo all ahead of him in the depth chart.

Bobby Marks suggests there’s no need to waive Doumbouya now or deal him along with a second rounder in a salary dump. The Nets can bring him into camp next month and give him a good lookover before deciding whether to 1) keep him and 2) extend him a $5.5 million qualifying offer.

Jordan, of course, became persona non grata after May 8. Steve Nash didn’t play him another minute in the regular season or playoffs. For the season, the 33-year-old averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 57 games, 41 of them starts. Although he arrived as part of the Clean Sweep in June 2019, essentially an add-on to the signings of his pals, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, he fell out of favor first with Kenny Atkinson, then with Nash. Also, YES camera caught James Harden in heated discussions with DJ on more than one occasion.

More reading: Detroit Bad Boys