Without a pick in this month’s draft — four fewer than he enjoyed last season — Nets general manager Sean Marks is going to have to be creative in filling out his roster.
Bringing back Mike James for a Brooklyn encore could be one possibility.
James — who played for the Nets down the stretch of the 2020-21 season, before heading back to Europe, and maintains a good relationship with Kevin Durant — wants to return to the NBA, and would like to play alongside Durant again.
The 31-year-old combo guard played for Monaco in the French League and Euroleague this season. After the Nets’ first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, Durant actually flew to watch James play games in France and Greece, and stuck around to party with his friend in Athens.
When trying to gage future Brooklyn additions, identifying friends of Durant is a good place to start. NetsDaily was the first to report his interest in returning.
“Idk how to even take this rumor. Would i like to play alongside my friend Kevin? Yes,” James tweeted. “But I’d also like to play alongside my 10 other of my close friends. Some play in the NBA, Europe and some don’t play professional.”
James could provide backup point guard play and instant offense off the bench for a top-heavy Nets team in need of depth behind Ben Simmons and presumably Kyrie Irving, both All-Stars. Goran Dragic is an unrestricted free agent while Patty Mills can become one if he declines his player option.
The Nets have been a top destination for ring-chasing veterans willing to play for league minimums (Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, etc.).
James joined the Nets in April 2021 following a dispute with CSKA Moscow coach Dimitris Itoudis that got him released. He ended up averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 assists in 13 games (one start). James made nine more appearances in the playoffs, before not being re-signed in the offseason.
But the Nets did keep a $1.8 million cap hold on James to ensure they retained his NBA rights. They could sign him to a veteran’s minimum if he’s willing, or perhaps even something more outside the cap.