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Nets sign G League PG Dru Smith to two-way, lose Donovan Williams to Hawks

LA Clippers v Miami Heat Photo by IEric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images

In a surprise move, the Nets are bringing on Dru Smith, a 6’3” G League point guard, as a two-way player. Smith, who had been a two-way with the Heat earlier this season, replaces Alondes Williams who was waived Thursday. Shams Charania was first with the news.

The Nets confirmed the news early Friday afternoon...

On Saturday morning, Donovan Williams, who many thought would get the Nets open two-way, agreed to sign a two-way with the Hawks, per Shams Charania.

Donovan Williams had been a surprise for Long Island. A 6’6” wing with a 7-foot wingspan and deep shooting skills, he had been, along with David Duke Jr., Long Island’s go-to guys lately on defense as well as offense.

The Nets roster now stands at 17. 15 standard deals and two two-ways, the max. David Duke Jr. is the Nets other two-way player.

Smith, a 25-year-old defensive-oriented PG, had a short stint as a two-way with the Heat earlier this season. He has also played the last two years for Sioux Falls Skyforce of the G League. He had been averaging 18.4 points, 7.4 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals for the Heat affiliate, shooting 31.3% from three, all numbers better than his first season with Sioux Falls. In four years of collegiate play, with Evansville and Missouri, Smith showed some deep shooting skills, hitting 37.3% from deep, including 48.2% at Evansville as a sophomore and 39.8% as a senior at Mizzou.

After going undrafted out of Missouri in the 2021 NBA Draft, Smith joined the Heat for the 2021 NBA Summer League and in September of that year signed a contract with Miami. He was waived prior to the start of the season and joined the Sioux Falls Skyforce as an affiliate player. After another stint in the Summer League this past year, he was signed as a Heat two-way, then was waived, re-signed and waived again, returning to the Skyforce for a second season. In five games with the Heat from October through December, he averaged 2.2 points 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 13.4 minutes per game prior to being waived on December 11. Here’s some highlights...

Alex Schiffer, who overlapped with Smith at Missouri, tweeted his assessment of Smith after his Athletic colleague’s tweet.

He led the SEC in steals per game both as a junior and senior en route to All-SEC First Team and SEC All-Defensive Team honors.

The move was a surprise in that many thought that Donovan Williams, the Long Island Nets 21-year-old swingman, or NBA veteran point guard Chris Chiozza, also toiling on the Island, would get the two-way after the Nets requested waivers on Alondes Williams on Thursday.

Long Island plays the Grand Rapids Gold Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. It’s uncertain whether Smith will be available for that game or Sunday’s Brooklyn Nets game vs. the Thunder. The Nets announced Friday that both Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe have been assigned to Long Island for Saturday’s game.