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NBA Rumors: Tristan Thompson, Veteran Backup Centers Eyed by Nets in Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2022

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly in the market for a backup center, with veteran Tristan Thompson a player "to keep an eye on," according to Michael Scotto of Hoopshype.

The Nets have also expressed "exploratory interest" in veteran forward Markieff Morris, per that report.

The Morris-to-the-Nets rumors have been persistent:

Chris Milholen @CMilholenSB

Sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/NetsDaily?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NetsDaily</a> and I the Nets and free agent Markieff Morris have mutual interest.

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nets</a> have a ton of open roster spots and are eyeing frontcourt players. Markieff Morris could be of interest to them. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA</a>

Adding frontcourt bodies should be a priority for the Nets, who lost Andre Drummond to the Chicago Bulls in free agency.

Assuming the Nets start Kyrie Irving at point guard, either Seth Curry or Joe Harris at shooting guard, Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons at the forward positions and Nic Claxton at center, the team has just Royce O'Neale and Day'Ron Sharpe as frontcourt depth.

While O'Neal will see major minutes as the backup 4, the backup center spot is a huge black hole for the team.

Thompson, 31, appeared in just 57 games last season split between the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, averaging 6.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

While Thompson offers very little outside rebounding—he's never been much of a rim-protector, averaging 0.7 blocks per game for his career, and his offensive contribution will largely come on putbacks—he has plenty of playoff and NBA Finals experience from his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers and could eat up minutes with the reserves.

As for Morris, the 32-year-old would be a source of instant offense and feisty defense off the bench in Brooklyn. A neck injury cost him most of last season, and he averaged just 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Miami Heat in 17 games during the 2021-22 campaign.

The Nets could see Morris as a small-ball 5 if they signed him, however, as Durant, Simmons and O'Neale could all handle the power forward minutes ahead of him.

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