After officially signing Norvel Pelle, the Nets expect to get their new center Sunday versus the Wizards in Washington
But with two roster spots still open — and one of them having to be filled by Saturday — coach Steve Nash said he expects the additions aren’t done.
The path of least resistance for the Nets would be to promote either of their two-way players — point guard Chris Chiozza or rookie second-round pick Reggie Perry — onto standard contracts. But Nash admitted that’s unlikely, that the Nets probably would make another addition from outside.
“I guess it’s possible to sign one of our two-way guys,” Nash said. “But I think we’re probably looking to sign somebody on a free-agent deal here.”
Somebody like Pelle.
The Nets signed the shot-blocking center after having traded away Jarrett Allen in the megadeal to get James Harden. Though Nash tried to temper immediate expectations — Pelle hasn’t played so far this season, after being with the 76ers through last year’s playoffs — there is a chance at a rotation spot here.
“A lot of that — when you sign a guy midway through the year, hasn’t been playing — is his fitness levels, ability to adapt quickly to the game,” Nash cautioned.
“But as far as his profile, he’s a rim-protecting center who can block shots, and a lob threat in and behind the defense. I think it’s really, we’ll see as we go here how physically he’s able to adapt to playing in the NBA again after a little layoff and we can get him up to speed and see if he gets an opportunity.”
The Nets sat Kevin Durant on Friday against his old Oklahoma City team.
He was out with what was termed “injury recovery,” the Nets are displaying an abundance of caution with the franchise forward following his 18-month layoff from right Achilles surgery in June 2019.
“Just a collective decision,” Nash said. “You’ve got to try, I think, in a condensed schedule steal a game or two here or there when you can. He’s played a lot of minutes. Played an overtime game, and it was a decision to protect him tonight.”
Durant had logged 42 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime win in Atlanta.
Friday was the sixth game he has missed, though three of the games missed from Jan. 5-8 were because of health and safety protocols.
Durant has looked back to his MVP self, coming into Friday averaging 30.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists, his highest scoring average since 2013-14 with the Thunder.
The Nets started Kyrie Irving and defensive-minded Bruce Brown in the backcourt, DeAndre Jordan at center, and paired Harden with Joe Harris at forward, only the second frontcourt start of the reigning three-time scoring champ’s career.
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