Despite making blockbuster trades last season, the Nets were quiet during the 2023 free agency. They gave minor deals to role players like Lonnie Walker IV, Dennis Smith Jr., and Trendon Watford. Brooklyn also gave Cam Johnson a contract extension.
Walker is having a career year off the bench for Jacque Vaughn's squad. These signings have helped and will continue to help Brooklyn stay afloat in the Play-In race, but there are some players that the Nets opted not to sign that wouldn't be as impactful as these signings.
3. The son of Manute Bol
Bol Bol had his best season last year with the Orlando Magic. He averaged 9.1 points. 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 70 games played with the Magic. People have been clamoring to see the 7'3 big man find his stride and play up to his extraordinary potential. He had been marred with injuries in his career and hasn't had much playing time, only playing in 53 games in his first three seasons. After 2022, it had looked like he would tap into that potential, but teams were reluctant to give him a deal.
Bol Bol received a minimum deal from the Phoenix Suns during the 2023 offseason. The Suns, who had traded for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, were scrambling for bench pieces to help them when the big three needed nights off.
“Bol brings unique skills and abilities to our forward and center positions, which further enhances our depth and versatility,” Suns general manager and president of basketball operations James Jones said in a press release after the signing. “His continued growth and development will help make us a more complete team.”
The Oregon product has played in just three games this year despite being fully healthy. Head Coach Frank Vogel has opted to use Nassir Little, Chimezie Metu, and Drew Eubanks over him as the backup big men.
It has become evident that Bol Bol was fool's gold, and Brooklyn's decision not to bite into temptation despite being a team that values size has been a positive start to the season. In limited minutes, Watford has shown better value as a backup big with his increases in his three-point shooting and free shooting percentages.