The changes in Brooklyn just keep coming. Today, the Nets received word that free agent point guard Goran Dragic will be signing with them for the rest of the season. The 35-year old provides Brooklyn with another ball-handler and another veteran voice in the locker room.
Brooklyn Nets Signing Free Agent Goran Dragic
This will be the fifth team that Dragic has played for, after beginning his career in Phoenix where he was a teammate of current Nets coach Steve Nash for three seasons. The two met on Friday and Nash made a strong recruiting push for Dragic to join him in Brooklyn.
Dragic began the season with the Toronto Raptors before being shipped off to the San Antonio Spurs at the trade deadline. He appeared in just five games with the Raptors and never suited up with the Spurs, before reaching a contract buy-out. Being eligible to sign with any team in the league, the Slovenian chose to pursue a championship with Nash and the Nets.
The arrival of Dragic meant that Brooklyn had to make room on their roster, and they are reportedly waiving Jevon Carter. The Nets have now waived two of their best perimeter players in Carter, and DeAndre Bembry last week after the James Harden and Ben Simmons deal.
Sean Marks completely revamped this Nets team since the deadline.
Added: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Goran Dragic
Lost: James Harden, Paul Millsap, Jevon Carter
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) February 21, 2022
Dragic will have the opportunity to play a key role on a team with title aspirations. With Kyrie Irving still unable to play home games and road games in New York City and Toronto, the Nets will now have someone to fill that void. Their playing styles are vastly different, but with the arrival of Seth Curry and Kevin Durant nearing a return to the court, Brooklyn merely needs him to handle the ball and facilitate.
Brooklyn ranks 17th in three-point shooting this season, an area where Dragic may also help them. He is a career 37 percent shooter from distance and shot just over 37 percent in 50 games last season. With Durant, Curry, and Patty Mills spacing the floor, and Andre Drummond’s presence in the paint, the lefty should get plenty of quality shots.
Postseason experience holds such a high value in the league, especially with younger players like Cam Thomas, Nic Claxton, Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr, and Day’Ron Sharpe. These guys have all had to play roles this season and could significantly benefit from their newest point guard.
Goran Dragic brings quite a bit of postseason experience — 56 games and 37 of those were starts. And a majority of those 56 games were with Steve Nash.
— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) February 21, 2022
Dragic started 16 playoff games and averaged 19 points per game during the Miami Heat’s run to the NBA Finals in 2020 before a plantar fasciitis injury sidelined him during the Finals. With the future status of Bem Simmons and Irving unclear, and the extended absence of Joe Harris, this was a move that the Nets desperately needed. It also prevents other East contenders like the Bucks and Bulls from signing him.
After being drafted in the second round (45th overall) in 2008, Dragic has gone on to win the Most Improved Player Award in 2013-14, and was named to the All-NBA team that same season. He is an All-Star that knows how to keep the ball moving, which had become a serious problem in Brooklyn when Harden was at the wheel.
The Nets are 31-28 at the All-Star break, sitting 8th in the Eastern Conference with 23 games left in the regular season. They will be extremely busy over the next six weeks trying to incorporate Dragic, Simmons, in addition to re-inserting Durant and Harris with this new group. It’s a high-pressure situation, but one that Brooklyn is happy to have.