Nets Strike Deal With NBA Bubble Star Amid Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Saga

TJ Warren of the Indiana Pacers was listed as a target for the Boston Celtics.

Getty TJ Warren of the Indiana Pacers was listed as a target for the Boston Celtics.

As the Brooklyn Nets continue to navigate through the offseason drama with their franchise players Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the front office has continued to build the team in hopes that they will contend for a title in 2023. 

One of the Nets’ weaknesses last year was outside of Durant they did not have a consistent wing defender that could stop the top scorers on opposing teams. But amid the drama between Irving, Durant, and the Nets, Brooklyn was able to make a key signing for one of this summer’s most coveted free agents that could correct that deficiency. On July 5, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Nets have agreed to a deal with free-agent guard TJ Warren. 

“Free agent [guard] TJ Warren has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets,” Wojnarowski tweeted on July 5. 

“Warren has only played four games in the past two years with consecutive stress fractures in his left foot, but he’s recovering and can help the Nets at both forward spots. Warren averaged nearly 20 points on 53% from the field in 2020. At 29, he’ll be a free agent again next year,” he added. 

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Warren Turned Heads With NBA Bubble Performance

Some fans may not be familiar with Warren’s game or name as he did not play for the entire 2021-22 NBA season. But for those who paid attention during the 2020 NBA Bubble, Warren is a household name.

Per Wojnarowski, Warren averaged 31 points on 58% shooting, including 52% from long distance in six games in the Orlando bubble in 2020. He averaged 20.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in Indiana’s first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat.

Per Stat Muse, some of his notable NBA Bubble performances included:

53 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists vs. Sixers

34 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks against vs. Wizards

32 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals vs. Magic

39 points, 5 rebounds vs. Lakers 

Nets Sign Edmond Sumner

Warren was just one of the signings that Nets general manager Sean Marks and his front office made on Tuesday. Per Wojnarowski, the Nets also inked Warren’s former Indiana Pacers teammate Edmond Sumner. Sumner averaged 7.5 points per game in the 2020-21 season but missed all of last season with a torn Achilles. But Wojnarowski says that he is fully recovered from the injury and ready to go for next season. 

“The Nets are signing another ex-Pacer who missed last season with an injury too, agreeing on a deal with guard Edmond Sumner, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski writes. 

“The 26-year-old averaged a career-high 7.5 points in 53 games for Indiana during the 2020-21 season but missed all of last season with a torn left Achilles sustained in September. Sumner is fully recovered from the injury and is expected to join the Nets’ backcourt rotation.”

Durant is all too familiar with that injury, as he suffered it in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals, and it ultimately held him out of his first season with the Nets. After returning to form from his Achilles injury, Durant could serve as a mentor to the Nets’ two new signees on how to recover after being away from the court for an extended period. It is one more reason for the franchise to convince him to stay. 

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