Nets’ roster locked and loaded
Brooklyn officially announces Anderson signing to fill out 15-man squad
Nets general manager Billy King cited “versatility” and “flexibility” when discussing the virtues of signing swingman Alan Anderson to a reported two-year deal Tuesday.
Those are two characteristics Brooklyn’s roster now has in abundance as the wheeling and dealing of the summer of 2013 appears to have come to an end — at least for the time being.
With the addition of Anderson, a four-year NBA veteran with career averages of 8.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 135 games, the Nets now have a player who can capably spell both six-time All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson and newly arrived small forward Paul Pierce during the 82-game grind of an NBA season.
Even if he wasn’t King’s first choice.
“We are pleased to add Alan to our roster,” said King. “He is a versatile player who will add flexibility to our rotation.”
Anderson, who went undrafted out of Michigan State University, enjoyed a two-season stint with the Charlotte Bobcats spanning the 2005-06 and ’06-07 campaigns before taking a four-year jaunt through Italy, Russia, Israel, Croatia, China and Spain. The 30-year-old journeyman was named the Croatian Cup MVP in 2009 and Spanish Cup MVP in 2011.
Last season in Toronto, Anderson put up a career-best 10.7 points per contest, drawing the interest of King and other GMs eager to find some instant offense off the bench.
“I know it’s a big, big transition from Toronto to Brooklyn,” Anderson noted during his introductory teleconference on Wednesday morning. “I’m just happy to be here. I’m ready for this journey that we’re about to go on. The Nets were by far the best team that was trying to sign me. I had other offers with teams that were offering me more money. But I’m not getting (any) younger. I want to win. I’m a winner. You just look at the teams and see who’s dedicated to winning. I felt the most comfortable being here.”
The Minnesota native fills the Nets’ final roster spot, originally expected to be taken by European sharp-shooter Bojan Bogdanovic, who was reported to have agreed to a three-year deal with Brooklyn before opting to remain with Turkish European League powerhouse Fenerbahce.
King, having already acquired Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko and Shaun Livingston, might be up for some real summer vacation time following his second straight busy offseason.
Last year, King was busy re-signing Deron Williams and Brook Lopez while bringing in Johnson, Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse to form our borough’s first major pro sports team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957.
He needed knee surgery following the summer haul, and could be looking for an August oasis to cool his heels after another Mikhail Prokhorov-funded shopping spree.
The 2013-14 Nets, who will be on the hook for approximately $180 million in payroll next season (nearly $80 million of which is luxury tax money) appear ready to make a deeper playoff push. At least deeper than the one made by the squad that fell meekly in seven games to a hobbled, but noticeably more game Chicago Bulls team in the opening round of the playoffs last season.
With All-Star center Lopez in the middle, Williams and Johnson in the backcourt and future Hall of Famers Garnett and Pierce up front, the Nets boast arguably the most decorated starting five in the sport.
But it is Brooklyn’s reserves that may play the most important role in keeping that veteran core healthy entering the postseason.
Terry, one of the league’s top Sixth Men, Kirilenko, Blatche and rebounding machine Reggie Evans figure to provide the first wave of relief.
But backup point man Livingston, second-year guard Tyshawn Taylor, rookie center Mason Plumlee and Anderson also figure to be in the mix as rookie head coach Jason Kidd looks to make the Nets one of the league’s highest-scoring teams.
“My job is to get the most out of them,” Kidd said of his loaded roster. “We want to be like the best franchises in sports, like [defending Western Conference champion] San Antonio. We want to win 50 games for the next 12, 13 years. The mission is to win. … This is a team that should score at least 100 points (a night), but you can’t win championships without defense.”
Anderson knows that each of the 15 players King has assembled for this run at a championship will play a vital role, regardless of their NBA resumes.
“I think that especially coming off the bench and me being able to score and defend, create, spot-shoot, rebound, doing a little bit of everything, I think I have a lot in my repertoire. I think it adds to that second unit,” Anderson said.
“We have the talent for sure. Now it’s going to come down to putting the pieces together,” he added. “We have a team full of superstars and a lot of Hall of Famers. But we have to put that stardom to the side and come together. We have guys that are vocal and want to win and get better.”
Read Friday’s Eagle for a profile of new Net Andrei Kirilenko, who will hope to provide some help off the bench this coming season as Brooklyn seeks its first major pro sports championship since 1955.
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