The Brooklyn Nets made a change to their roster going into the playoffs by releasing veteran forward James Johnson.
In cutting Johnson the team opened up a spot on their roster going into the playoffs, and it’s expected they’ll fill that with two-way forward Kessler Edwards.
Edwards is currently splitting time between Brooklyn and Long Island, so this would be a big move for the rookie, even if it doesn’t guarantee he would be getting consistent minutes in the playoffs.
What this move does is make Edwards a permanent player on the Nets, so he won’t be going back and forth between the two teams anymore, which would make sense since the G-League season has already wrapped.
The news of this move comes via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and it was something that had the writing on the wall already.
In 46 games with Brooklyn, Edwards has chipped in 5.8 points per game while averaging a little over 20 minutes per game. When he did spend his time in Brooklyn, he was a big part of the rotation.
Going into the playoffs, the Nets will likely lean a bit more on their veterans, so he might see his minutes cut reduced from his regular season numbers. Edwards has shown a nice shooting stroke as he’s hitting 35.9 percent of his shots from behind the arc, something any team in the NBA needs these days.
The deal comes as a bit of formality as it was expected he’d make the roster, but this conversion had to be done to make him eligible for the postseason.
This move also opens up another two-way spot for the Nets, and there’s a possibility that journeyman big man Thon Maker or guard Bryce Brown could fill the void that has just become available.
What’s the Roster Look Like?
The roster going into the playoffs will be without the services of Ben Simmons, the marquee addition that came over in the James Harden trade.
While there was optimism he would return before the regular season ended, it looks like that ended due to a back injury. Coach Steve Nash has already ruled him out for the play-in tournament, but it doesn’t seem like there’ll be much hope of him even coming back in the future after that either.
What this means is Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will have to carry the bulk of the load, something both of them have shown they can do. Irving is now cleared to play in all home games along with road games, so the Nets are at the strongest they can be without Simmons.
Even without him, the Nets are still expected to be a team that can compete for an NBA title, even if they are currently in the play-in scenario. The Nets will definitely have some areas to address in the offseason because the bench depth is certainly an issue, but a team with Durant and Irving can beat anybody on any given night.