Ranking the Best Free-Agency Signings in Brooklyn Nets History
The Brooklyn Nets have never been big players in free agency.
Over the last couple of decades, the franchise has, instead, opted to acquire talent through trades. In 2001, the Nets traded for Jason Kidd. They dealt for Vince Carter in 2004 and they acquired Deron Williams in 2011.
Hours after the trade was made official, they proceeded to sign free-agent point guard Shaun Livingston along with small forward Andrei Kirilenko.
The signings of Livingston and Kirilenko didn’t dominate the headlines, but both players will have a crucial role on a star-studded team primed for a postseason run.
Let’s take a look back at some other free agents who’ve had success with the Nets in the past.
5. Jarvis Hayes
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The Nets signed Jarvis Hayes on July 16, 2008.
Hayes, a 6’7” power forward from the University of Georgia, was selected by the Washington Wizards with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He spent four seasons with the Wizards before signing with the Detroit Pistons as a free agent in 2007.
Hayes played in all 82 games for the Detroit Pistons during the 2007-08 season. He spent two seasons with the Nets, averaging 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 24.8 minutes during 2008-09, and 7.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 23 minutes during 2009-10.
Unfortunately, the Nets were an abysmal 46-118 from 2008 to 2010. But Hayes was a valuable sixth man for the Nets during those two seasons, providing both depth and versatility. His inside-outside offensive game allowed him to play both forward positions.
He currently plays professionally in Russia for Ironi Ashkelon.
4. Jordan Farmar
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UCLA product Jordan Farmar was taken by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.
Farmar won two championships with the Lakers before signing with the Nets as a free agent on July 14, 2010. The Nets signed the point guard to a three-year, $12-million contract.
Farmar spent two seasons in New Jersey from 2010 through 2012, averaging a combined 10 points and 4.2 assists in 23 minutes per game. Farmar was a serviceable point guard for a struggling Nets team with little overall talent.
The arrival of Deron Williams midway through the 2011-12 season marked the end of Farmar’s run with the Nets. He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on July 11, 2012. Atlanta waved him five days later.
The 26-year-old spent last season playing in Israel and was re-signed by the Lakers this July.
3. Andray Blatche
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The Nets signed Andray Blatche to a minimum one-year contract after he was amnestied by the Wizards last summer.
Blatche showed a lot of promise as a young center in Washington, but off-the-court issues led to his abrupt release.
General manager Billy King took a chance on Blatche and the big man has found a new home in Brooklyn. During the 2012-13 season, Blatche averaged an impressive 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in just 19 minutes per game.
The Nets were bounced in the first round of the playoffs last season, but Blatche emerged as the team’s sixth man. The backup center re-signed with the team on July 11.
"Andray was a vital member of our team last season," said King (via ESPNNewYork.com). "He provides valuable frontcourt depth, and we look forward to his continued contribution."
2. Todd MacCulloch
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Todd MacCulloch was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 47th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.
The Canadian-born center played two seasons with the 76ers before signing with the Nets during the summer of 2001. He averaged 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game as the team’s starting center.
The Nets made the NBA Finals in 2001-02, falling to the Lakers 4-0. MacCulloch was the interior centerpiece of the Eastern Conference champions, but the 7-footer was forced into retirement by a chronic foot condition just a year later.
MacCulloch was traded back to the 76ers with teammate Keith Van Horn on August 6, 2002 in exchange for Dikembe Mutombo.
1. Armen Gilliam
Armen “The Hammer” Gilliam played three seasons with the Nets, averaging 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game from 1993 to 1996.
Gilliam played his college ball at UNLV, where he led the team to a 93-11 record from 1984 to 1987. The 6’9”, 230-pound forward was taken by the Phoenix Suns with the second overall pick of the 1987 NBA Draft.
After spending two seasons with Phoenix and three more seasons with the 76ers, Gilliam signed as a free agent with the Nets on August 11, 1993.
The 1993-94 season saw the Nets finish 45-37 during Gilliam’s first season with the team. Unfortunately, they managed to post back-to-back 30-52 seasons during the following two years.
Gilliam played 13 seasons in the NBA. Tragically, on the evening of July 5, 2011, he suffered a heart attack and died during a pickup game at a gym in Pittsburgh, PA.
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