Mike James, the 6’1” combo guard who gave the Nets some solid minutes at the end of the 2020-21 season then returned to Europe, wants back in the NBA and back in Brooklyn.
An NBA insider tells NetsDaily that James, who played for A.C. Monaco in the French Serie A league and Euroleague this season, is hoping that he and Brooklyn can come to an agreement that put him back in the black-and-white for 2022-23. The Nets hold his NBA rights, permitting them to sign him to a vets minimum deal — or something larger outside the salary cap.
Overnight, James responded to the rumor, in effect confirming he would be interested in a reunion...
Idk how to even take this rumor. Would i like to play alongside my friend Kevin? Yes. But I’d also like to play alongside my 10 other of my close friends. Some play in the NBA, Europe and some don’t play professional.— Mike James (@TheNatural_05) June 6, 2022
The Nets point guard situation in particular remains unsettled. Ben Simmons will likely play some minutes at the 1 as well as the 5 with Kyrie Irving splitting time between the two backcourt positions. Goran Dragic, signed at the end of last season, is an unrestricted free agent. Patty Mills, who was pressed into service at the point during Irving’s absence, has a player option in his contract.
James played 13 games with one start in 2020-21, averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 assists with shooting splits of 37/36/76 in 18 minutes per game. He played in nine post-season games as well, but only sparingly. He joined the team in April 2021 after he left CSKA Moscow following a dispute with his then coach, Dimitris Itoudis, that got him suspended, then released. The Nets did not re-sign him and he returned to Europe, signing with Monaco.
More importantly for his future prospects in Brooklyn, he and Kevin Durant remain close friends. Following the Nets loss to the Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs, KD traveled first to Monaco, then to Athens to watch James play in Euroleague games, sticking around to party with James in Greece...
Last August, he also offered this assessment of Irving...
Look kyrie top 3 most skilled players ever. Period. I said what i said. Move on— Mike James (@TheNatural_05) August 31, 2021
James, who turns 32 in August, is the highest scoring American in Euroleague history with 3,318 points over the course of his long career with five European clubs. He has been a serious MVP candidate in the Euroleague the last two years. He was first team All-Euroleague this past season, ranked third in the league in both scoring (16.4 ppg.) and assists (5.8 apg.) and 10th in steals (1.2 spg.)
- Nets could bring back Mike James for point guard depth - Brian Lewis - New York Post