Brooklyn Nets: Bringing back Alan Williams helps thin frontcourt

Brooklyn Nets Long Island Nets Alan Williams. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Long Island Nets Alan Williams. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets re-signed big man Alan Williams to a 2-way contract on Friday, nine days after he was waived from a 2-way deal at his request.

A day after reports circulated that big man Alan Williams would not be going to China, but would instead be returning to the Brooklyn Nets on a two-way contract, the Nets confirmed those reports by announcing they had re-signed Williams on a two-way deal.

Williams had asked for and been granted his release when the Nets waived him from his original two-way contract on Jan. 2. Williams was reported to be close to a deal to return to the Chinese Basketball Association, where he began his pro career in 2015, but that fell through.

Instead, the Nets brought Williams back into the same roster slot he had before.

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The return of Williams comes at an opportune time for Brooklyn, with Jared Dudley joining Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on the sidelines after injuring his left hamstring Wednesday in the Nets’ 116-100 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Hollis-Jefferson, meanwhile, will miss his sixth straight game since sustaining a strained right adductor in a game at Milwaukee on Dec. 29.

Either Dudley (25) or Hollis-Jefferson (18) had started every game this season at power forward for Brooklyn. It is likely that veteran DeMarre Carroll will get that assignment Friday night when the Nets visit the Toronto Raptors.

Williams did not appear on the afternoon injury report for the Nets, nor did Brooklyn’s other two-way contract holder, Theo Pinson, indicating both will be available against the Raptors.

Williams hasn’t played since he scored an NBA G League-career high 37 points and had 16 rebounds in the Long Island Nets victory in DC over the Capital City Go-Go on Dec. 29.

In 17 games for Long Island, Brooklyn’s affiliate club in the G League, Williams had averaged 21.0 points and 14.6 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game on 51.8 percent shooting overall. He had made 3-of-10 from 3-point range.

Williams, who will turn 26 later this month, was undrafted out of UC Santa Barbara in 2015 and was unable to land a camp contract after playing NBA Summer League sessions with both the Charlotte Hornets and Houston Rockets.

He then signed with the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles in China before returning to the U.S. on a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns in March 2016. Williams got a multi-year contract from Phoenix after the 10-day deal expired and played sparingly save for 22 minutes in the season finale.

He was a deep-rotation reserve for Phoenix in 2016-17, appearing in 47 games and averaging 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 15.1 minutes per game.

He missed all but five games last season because of a knee injury and was waived by the Suns in early July.

Nicknamed Big Sauce, Williams signed a two-way deal with the Nets less than a week before the start of training camp in September. The 6-foor-8, 265-pound inside force was active but did not play in two games for Brooklyn before being waived on Jan. 2.

Pinson, meanwhile, comes back to the parent Nets after scoring a G-League career-high 43 points for Long Island in a win over the Maine Red Claws in Portland, Maine, Thursday night.

Pinson has played 19 games for Long Island, averaging 19.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 35.2 minutes per game while shooting 46.1 percent overall and 38.8 percent from 3-point range.

The undrafted rookie from North Carolina has made six appearances for Brooklyn, averaging 1.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 9.8 minutes per game, but has made just 4-of-15 shots, missing on all eight of his 3-point attempts.

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Of Pinson’s 59 minutes with the NBA Nets this season, 44 have come in his last two appearances — 28 minutes against Milwaukee on Dec. 29 and 16 minutes Monday night against the Boston Celtics.