The Brooklyn Nets continued to reshape their roster after the James Harden trade after landing veteran point guard Goran Dragic for the stretch run, according to multiple reports.
Dragic chose the Nets over defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were the favorites due to a more significant role it could offer after losing Pat Connaughton to injury and Donte DiVincenzo in a four-team trade to acquire Serge Ibaka. Aside from Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Clippers also reportedly pursued Dragic. But in the end, Dragic’s relationship with Nets coach Steve Nash weighed heavily.
Nash served as Dragic’s mentor when he entered the NBA in 2008. The Slovenian point guard served as Nash’s backup in Phoenix during his first three seasons. They have an unfinished business together after the Suns lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals 12 years ago. The two met Friday, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.
Dragic became the most sought-after free agent after securing his buyout with the San Antonio Spurs. He started the season with the Toronto Raptors as part of the sign-and-trade with Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry. But Dragic only played five games in Toronto before they agreed to part ways while working on a trade. He averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 assists in 18.0 minutes — his lowest output since the 2010-11 season. The Raptors attached a future first-round pick to Dragic in a deal with the Spurs for veteran big man Thaddeus Young and a second-round selection.
The Nets are waiving Jevon Carter to open a roster spot for Dragic, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 6-foot-3 Dragic will bring leadership with 56 playoff games under his belt. He will instantly boost the Nets’ thin point guard rotation with Ben Simmons still out and Kyrie Irving only available for their road games. Dragic and Patty Mills could form a formidable backcourt tandem in the second unit when Irving is hopefully allowed to play unrestricted in the playoffs.
Dragic has career averages of 13.9 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 36.4 percent from behind the arc. The Nets are scheduled to host the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
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