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STAYING: Nicolas Claxton and Patty Mills elect to re-sign

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets are keeping the band together... sort of.

Brooklyn got to business within the first hour of free agency, bringing two holdovers from the 2021-22 season back on brand new two-year contracts.

Up first was Patty Mills, who recently turned down his $6.2 million player option earlier in the week. It was presumed by some that Mills was set to test the market and find a new home, but those worries were quickly shot down when the Nets elected to retain him on a two-year, $14.5 million deal.

Mills is, of course, one of the preeminent sharpshooters the league and spaced the floor with 40 percent accuracy last season, a boon for a Nets team potentially led by the playmaking skillset of Ben Simmons as the lead option. Speaking of Simmons, Mills and the Nets expect the 33-year-old to be one of Simmons’ mentors on the team, with Mills saying “I’ve got his back” about the fellow Australian back in February.

Nicolas Claxton, the Nets promising young center, was also welcomed back into Brooklyn’s locker room on a shiny new two-year, $20 million deal. Clax has quickly made himself a household name in Brooklyn due to his switchability on defense, and he showcased minor improvements on offense leading to a career-high 8.7 points per game. Presumably, the 23-year-old second round pick will have the opportunity to compete for a starting spot for the Nets alongside Simmons, Joe Harris, potentially Royce O’Neale, and whoever is left on the roster after the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sweepstakes.

Elsewhere, former Net starting center Andre Drummond inked a two-year, $6.6 million with the Chicago Bulls. It was rumored throughout the week that the Nets were at least somewhat interest in retaining Drummond, however it appears Brooklyn will set explore other options. Blake Griffin, another one of Brooklyn’s centers from last season, has been repeatedly tied to the Los Angeles Lakers, and JaVale McGee, who the Nets reportedly had interest in, signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks. So, the center spot (aside from Claxton) is fairly up in the air for the Nets. Other than Day’Ron Sharpe, the Nets have little up front. Perhaps that’s where Sean Marks strikes next.