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Nets sign Brooks to two-way contract

Free-agent guard gets deal for Summer League performance

July 19, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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First-round pick Noah Clowney didn’t exactly set the Summer League on fire this month.

But the Brooklyn Nets may have found a bit of back-court depth in Las Vegas.

After finishing off their annual round-robin tournament appearance in Sin City, the Nets signed guard Armoni Brooks to a two-way contract Tuesday, capping off a week in which they also waived forward RaiQuan Gray, inked free-agent forward Darius Bazley and sent guard Edmond Sumner packing.

Clowney, selected 21st overall during last month’s NBA Draft at Downtown’s Barclays Center, averaged just 4.8 points per game in Vegas. He also shot a dismal 23 percent from the floor, including 23.5 percent from 3-point range.

The 6-foot-10 University of Alabama alum, who turned 19 during Summer League play, was one of two first-round picks by Brooklyn, which hasn’t seen 22nd overall selection Dariq Whitehead (foot surgery) in action yet.

Clowney showed a penchant for getting in foul trouble during his first foray into pro basketball, and only appeared briefly in the Nets’ semifinal loss to Cleveland on Sunday.

“It’s always a little unique because they’re different individuals,” Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said back in June of his trio of draft picks, including second-rounder Jalen Wilson (51st overall), at the HSS Training Center in Sunset Park.

“But how mature each one of these guys are. (Coach) Jacque (Vaughn) mentioned before he’s got a couple boys at home that are similar ages and so do I, and I’d be extremely proud if these guys were my kids.”

Nets general manager Sean Marks and head coach Jacque Vaughn are hoping for steady progress from the three players Brooklyn drafted last month. AP Photo by Mary Altaffer

Brooks, listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, showed enough in Vegas to earn a deal that will pay him the NBA minimum whenever he plays for Brooklyn this coming season. The rest of the time, he is likely to see action on Long Island for the franchise’s G-League affiliate.

Already a veteran of 74 NBA contests between Houston and Toront, Brooks has career averages of 6.9 points per contest on 36.6 percent shooting, including 33 percent from beyond the arc.

The 25-year-old University of Houston product participated in four playoff games with the Raptors in 2022.

He drew Brooklyn’s interest by averaging 17.8 points, 4.8 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per contest during Summer League play.

Whitehead, who had his foot surgery performed by Nets team doctor Martin O’Malley on June 7, is expected to be participating in training camp activities here in Brooklyn come September.

“I feel like people definitely, from last year, they tend to think that I’m not athletic, and that was due to me pretty much playing on one leg,” said the Duke alum.

“But I feel like I can definitely show the athletic part and then, really my playmaking. I feel like once I, you know, get to 100%, I can go back to showing how well I can really be a great on-ball playmaker, pretty much.”

Wilson, named All-Second Team at Summer League, was not only active in Vegas, he proved he might be the quickest to the NBA of the three draftees.

The small forward out of Kansas averaged a team-best 17.8 points to go with 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He also buried an eye-popping 46 percent of his 3-pointers.

Wilson has already impacted the Brooklyn community with his strong performances in Vegas.

The Texas native and Wilson Sporting Goods combined to raise $9,450 dollars for the borough’s YMCAs by pledging $100 for each point scored and $50 per assist throughout Summer League.

Nets’ second-round pick Jalen Wilson earned All-Second Team honors during the NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas last week. AP Photo by Mary Altaffer

“Love having the opportunity to give back to a place that changed my life. God is Good and I appreciate every dollar!!!!” Wilson tweeted.

Bazley, a 23-year-old Boston native, spent most of his first four NBA seasons with Oklahoma City, averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

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