As the final month of the NBA offseason comes to a close, team front offices are rounding out their rosters as they get ready to officially open training camp in September. After a turbulent summer, the Brooklyn Nets are looking to put a significantly improved team around their stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who at one point, were uncertain if they would rejoin the franchise in 2023.
On August 28, NBA insider Marc Stein, formerly of ESPN and the New York Times, said that former Los Angeles Lakers big man Markieff Morris and the Nets had moved into ‘advanced discussions’ on a contract agreement. It didn’t take too long for those discussions to come full circle. On August 30, NBA insider Shams Charania of “The Athletic” confirmed that Morris and the Nets had agreed on a non-guaranteed deal for 2023.
“Free agent Markieff Morris has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, pending a physical exam,” Charania tweeted on August 30.
“An addition who brings production and leadership as an 11-year NBA veteran. Morris was part of the 2020 Lakers championship team and now is set to join Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons in Brooklyn. He is expected to undergo a physical with the team this week”
The newly acquired Nets big man sent out a tweet shortly after confirming the news and his excitement to be headed to Brooklyn.
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Morris a Welcomed Addition to Nets Frontcourt
Morris will be a welcomed addition to a Nets frontcourt that is pencil-thin after the departure of Andre Drummond and the apparent departures of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. But although the ex-Laker is technically a frontcourt player, at 6’9, Morris is undersized for his position.
Being undersized ultimately put a nail in the coffin of the Nets last season. The Celtics inside presence of Al Horford and Robert Williams was too much to overcome and Brooklyn was swiftly swept out of the first round of the playoffs.
Nets head coach Steve Nash is showing a commitment to playing small ball yet again, and it has worked for some teams in the past. But after the way they were bullied in last year’s playoffs, the Nets may not be finished making moves to bolster their frontcourt.
Nets Well Positioned for 2023
The Nets enter the 2023 season in possibly the best position they have been in during the Durant and Kyrie era. No star has lingering injuries, vaccination status is not a pressing issue, and for the most part, their roster does not have any glaring weaknesses.
Much of the summer was spent awaiting the demise of the Nets after Durant requested a trade from the franchise at the opening of free agency. So there is irony in the fact that top to bottom, the Nets have one of the best rosters in the NBA.
But with that, comes a significant amount of pressure facing the franchise as Durant, Irving, and Ben Simmons have a lot to prove individually, and the Nets have even more to prove as a team. This year could once again be championship or bust for Brooklyn.