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Nets Spark Plugs Open Up About Impending Free Agency

Brooklyn Nets impending free agents Trendon Watford, Lonnie Walker IV, Nic Claxton

With major changes ahead for the Brooklyn Nets, the only player that may be guaranteed a roster spot next season is Mikal Bridges.

Earlier this season, rumors surfaced about the Nets’ intention to move forward with Bridges as a foundational piece. Yet, it’s possible that even he could be moved. After being severely impacted by teams highlighting him in their scouting reports, it’s hard to imagine he’s untouchable in trade talks.

Regardless of their trade market intentions, several rotation players also set to be free agents.

Chief among them is Nic Claxton, a lithe center that’s become a defensive lynchpin in Brooklyn. Claxton has averaged 12.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game over the past two seasons. Ninth in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season, the Nets are rumored to want him back.

Former first-round picks Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV will be free agents this season as well. Though they had a larger role under Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn may bring them back.

In the case of Smith, Brooklyn’s point guard depth will be always be questionable with oft-injured Ben Simmons on the roster. Smith isn’t much of a shooter himself, making just 29.4 percent of his 3s this season. However, be brings energy and experience both on the court and in the locker room.

Lonnie Walker IV, Trendon Watford Open Up About Impending Free Agency

Walker may be more likely to leave in free agency than Smith, especially if the Nets take the interim tag off head coach Kevin Ollie. At this point, it appears that Brooklyn will be heading in a different direction. To that point, a coach like Mike Budenholzer may better appreciate Walker’s efficiency from beyond the arc. In 2023-24, Walker shot 38.4 percent from deep. That could be enough to earn him another contract with the Nets.

Asked by ClutchPoints reporter Erik Slater what he’s prioritizing in free agency, Walker says he’s “just looking for a home… Just looking for a team that finds me valuable. [I want to be] an important piece for a team that can consistently play…”

Walker, a six-year veteran, averaged 9.7 points per game in 2023-24.

Third-year forward Trendon Watford will also be a free agent. Averaging 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on 40.6 percent from 3 after the All-Star Break, his numbers speak to his potential value as a role player. The film shows a downhill scorer that’s adept at guarding in space.

Asked if he could see himself returning to the Nets, Watford says, “this is definitely a place I can see myself again. I love the fans, love New York… It was great…”

“Now we step into free agency and see how it goes. But I definitely had fun this year.”


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