April 19, 2021

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With LaMarcus Aldridge signing, Nets gain more veteran depth up front

2 min read

So, is the Nets’ 2021 NBA title a wrap now that LaMarcus Aldridge will be coming off their bench the next few months? Of course not, and NBA Twitter is ready to tell you that while it complains about Brooklyn adding another star to an already deep roster.

Aldridge’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday that the big man will sign with the team now that he has been bought out by the Spurs. He is the second bought-out vet to head to the Nets in recent weeks; Blake Griffin was the first.

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Griffin is a backup power forward with Brooklyn, which is why Wojnarowski speculated the 6-11 Aldridge will most likely be a backup center with the Nets.

Wherever Aldridge plays, Brooklyn’s second-unit frontcourt options will be him, Griffin, Jeff Green, Timothe Luwau-Cabarrot, Nicolas Claxton and Alize Johnson, who scored 23 points in his Brooklyn debut. They’ll complement Kevin Durant (once he returns from a hamstring injury), DeAndre Jordan and Joe Harris.

That’s the proverbial “good problem” of having multiple options. Finding minutes for the current crop hasn’t been difficult this season because Durant has played in just 19 of the Nets’ 46 games and is out at the moment with a hamstring injury.

Player GP GS MPG PPG RPG
Green 42 22 26.9 9.6 3.8
Luwawu-Cabarrot 39 7 19.5 7.1 2.5
Claxton 21 14 19.2 8.9 4.4
*Griffin 3 0 18.3 9.0 3.3

*Totals with Nets.

Aldridge averaged 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21 games (18 starts) for San Antonio.

The reserves’ opportunities won’t dry up for a while because Durant is at least two weeks away from returning. But Aldridge will change the distribution once he’s ready. His last game appearance was March 1 — the Spurs benched him soon after — and he missed time earlier in the season with a hip injury.

Nets coach Steve Nash can use the remainder of the regular season to play Aldridge, Green and Griffin together. There’s a lot of age in that group (Green is 34 and Griffin is 32), but also a lot of ability. And if they don’t work out, then Nash can roll with younger backups who have played a lot of minutes.

Again, a really good problem to have.

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