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Official: Nets sign Goran Dragic, waive Jevon Carter

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Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are signing free-agent guard, Goran Dragic, per Shams Charania. Dragic, who completed a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs shortly after the February 10 trade deadline, will sign for the rest of the season.

The veteran guard had interest from a number of teams, including the Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and both L.A. teams, with the Nets and Bucks seen as the likely choices. On Sunday, Marc Stein reported that Steve Nash, Dragic’s mentor in Phoenix a decade ago, had served as the lead recruiter for Brooklyn, delivering key pieces of the team’s pitch to Dragic on Friday.

Stein said Dragic intended to take his time in making his choice, but Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Monday that Dragic may have had one team in mind all along. Fedor tweeted that he’d asked about possible Cavaliers interest in Dragic but “kept getting the same answer: ‘He’s already got a team lined up.’”

The Nets are waiving Jevon Carter to make room for the veteran guard in Brooklyn, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets made both moves official on Tuesday morning...

Later, Woj reported that Carter will join DeAndre’ Bembry, cut after the trade deadline blockbuster, in Milwaukee.

Carter has a guaranteed deal for this season and next, but as Yossi Gozlan tweeted after the deal was reported, the Nets could stretch Carter’s contract to save on luxury tax...

Dragic served as Nash’s backup point guard in Phoenix for four seasons (190 games), helping the then young Slovenian take the early steps in his NBA career after spending the previous four seasons overseas in Europe. In addition, Nets player development assistant, Amar’e Stoudemire, played three seasons with Dragic, two in Phoenix and one in Miami and James Johnson played four seasons with Dragic in Miami.

Dragic will fill needed ball-handling duties in Brooklyn and the Nets hope a dynamic scoring guard with skillsets of both facilitating and rebounding. The 35-year-old guard hasn’t played in an NBA game since November 13 following a “mutual agreement” with the Raptors.

Since then, he has been working in South Florida where he has an off-season home, hoping to join a contender. It is likely Dragic will undergo a ramp-up before making his Nets debut. In only five games played this season, Dragic posted averages of 8.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 18.0 minutes per game.

A year ago, Dragic played 50 games for the Heat, averaging 13.4 points and 4.4 assists on shooting splits of 43/37/83 in primarily a back-up role. Here’s some highlights...

The 6’3” guard has career averages of 13.9 and 4.8. He is a former All-Star (2018), All-NBA player (2014) and Most Improved Player (2014). Five years ago, he and Luka Doncic led Slovenia to its first Eurobasket championship. Dragic was named the tournament MVP.

At the time, Drazen Petrovic’s mother had Petrovic’s Nets jersey delivered to Dragic, who became emotional when he received it.

The Bucks had generally been seen as a front-runner for his services because they’re the defending champions and are likely to give him more playing time having lost Pat Connaughton to injury and traded Donte DeVincenzo. Milwaukee recently added former Net DeAndre’ Bembry to their roster.

Of course, the Nets are also in need of backcourt back-ups with James Harden traded and Irving still on a part-time basis, unable to play at home because he’s unvaccinated. Cam Thomas has filled that role admirably but no doubt Nash and Sean Marks would like to have a seasoned vet going into the playoffs come April. Dragic has played 56 games in the post-season, starting 37.

Ten years ago, the Nets planned on making an offer to Dragic if Deron Williams had declined to sign with Brooklyn. DWill signed with Brooklyn and Dragic signed a new deal with Phoenix.