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SIGNED: Dennis Smith Jr. joining Nets on one-year deal, per Shams

Charlotte Hornets v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have filled one of the big off-season needs Saturday. Dennis Smith Jr. Smith, a veteran point guard, will join the team and presumably back up Spencer Dinwiddie and/or Ben Simmons.

Shams Charania was first with the news...

Smith, an unrestricted free agent, confirmed the move in a tweet…

He played last with his hometown Charlotte Hornets. reviving his career that has been on an up-and-down trajectory since being drafted ninth overall by the Mavericks in the 2017 Draft. He is 25.

The 6’3” North Carolina State product averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 assists in 54 games, 15 starts, for Charlotte on 41/22/74 shooting splits last year. He also proved a defensive stalwart for the Hornets, recording 1.4 steals a game in 25.7 minutes.

After a strong rookie year in Dallas, Smith’s career experienced a deep slide, in part due to a series of injuries but also because of limited skills outside of defense and distribution. He was sent to the Knicks in the 2019 Kristaps Porzingis deal then moved again less than two years later to the Pistons as part of the Derrick Rose trade. He later signed with the Blazers but played in only 37 games before being cut in late February.

He was so down on his NBA prospects at that point that he considered working out for the NFL rather than play overseas. However, he was invited to Hornets training camp last September and was eventually signed to a standard NBA deal.

Smith’s acquisition continues two Nets trends seen since the end of last season. The first is that the Nets are loading up on defenders. In addition to Simmons and Mikal Bridges who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year balloting in 2021 and 2022, the Nets have one of the league’s top shot blockers in Nic Claxton and other solid defenders including Cam Johnson, Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith. The other trend is about being incremental in their moves.