The Brooklyn Nets waive an offseason signee; finalize 2023-2024 roster

Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets waived forward Darius Bazley on Thursday afternoon, trimming their active roster to 15. Bazley has averaged 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists across 228 career games, 118 of which he started. He spent the first four years of his career in Oklahoma City before joining Phoenix last year.

The Nets signed Bazley to a one-year deal this offseason, but he struggled this preseason, averaging just 5.6 points across three games on 40 percent shooting. Brooklyn has a logjam at the forward position, and Bazley could not establish himself ahead of any of Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Royce O’Neale, Dorian Finney-Smith, or Harry Giles.

Brooklyn’s roster now stands at 17, with 15 regulars. Jalen Wilson and Armoni Brooks are on two-way contracts, which can be given to players with less than four years of NBA experience that stipulates those players can not be on a team’s active list for more than 50 games.

Here is how Brooklyn’s depth chart now stands:

PG: Ben Simmons, Dennis Smith Jr.

SG: Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Thomas, Lonnie Walker IV, Dariq Whitehead

SF: Mikal Bridges, Royce O’Neale

PF: Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Noah Clowney, Trendon Watford

C: Nic Claxton, Day’Ron Sharpe, Harry Giles

Brooklyn’s starting lineup has the perfect mix of veteran leadership and young, blossoming talent. The second unit comprises Smith Jr., Thomas, O’Neale, Finney-Smith, and Sharpe. Thomas and Sharpe are up-and-coming young players primed to take a big step forward in 2023-2024, while Smith Jr., Finney-Smith, and O’Neale are superb defenders who can hit outside shots.

Clowney (Alabama) and Whitehead (Duke) were picked 21st and 22nd in the 2023 NBA Draft, and both should push for playing time this season. Clowney averaged 9.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 36 games in his lone college basketball season last year, while Whitehead averaged just 8.3 points in an injury-riddled season.

Nets head coach Jacques Vaughn has his work cut out for him this season, but if some of these young players take steps forward, Brooklyn will be a factor in the Eastern Conference.