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Nets Rumors: Nic Claxton Expected to Return to Brooklyn in NBA Free Agency

Adam WellsJune 28, 2022

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Now that it appears Kyrie Irving will be back with the Brooklyn Nets next season, Nic Claxton's restricted free agency could be the next order of business for the front office to work on.

On the latest episode of The Hoop Collective Podcast (starts at 10:30 mark), ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted that Claxton is expected to remain with the Nets.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Irving is going to opt in to his $36.5 million contract for next season to remain with the Nets.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Irving elected to opt in after being unable to find a sign-and-trade partner in free agency.

Windhorst didn't specify if that meant Claxton was going to sign a long-term deal or if he was going to accept the one-year qualifying offer worth $2.23 million. He would be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer if he plays on the qualifying offer.

Last week, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported the Houston Rockets "will be looking" for depth at the center position in free agency but have yet to identify specific options.

Feigen noted the Nets were "considered unlikely" to match a mid-level offer to Claxton if he were to receive one from another organization.

Claxton, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge are among the Nets big men who can become free agents this offseason.

Brooklyn selected Claxton with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He played two seasons in college at the University of Georgia from 2017-19. The South Carolina native was named to the All-SEC second team by coaches during his sophomore campaign.

The Nets are already into the luxury tax with their payroll for next season, so their ability to make roster moves is largely limited to retaining their own free agents.

Claxton played sparingly through his first two NBA seasons. He saw an increased role in 2021-22, appearing in 47 games (19 starts). The 23-year-old set career highs in scoring average (8.7 points per game) and rebounds (5.6).

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