Just a few days ago, it looked like the Brooklyn Nets were going to roll into the 2021-22 season with a lineup heavily influenced by last year’s Toronto Raptors squad, as power forwards Alize Johnson and versatile combo guard DeAndre’ Bembry figured to be contributors off of the bench.
That all changed after the Nets made a trio of moves that cemented themselves as kings of the division, as they signed veteran big men LaMarcus Alridge and Paul Millsap as bench depth while acquiring a potential Raptors target in Sekou Doumbouya from Detroit in a salary dump move that got rid of DeAndre Jordan.
Even with two of their second-round picks unsigned, the Nets roster stood at 17 players after these moves. One former Raptor already bit the dust, and they could cut both of them if they feel they are satisfied with their backcourt rotation.
The Nets already decided to waive Johnson, a Raptors 905 standout, despite the fact he averaged 5.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for Brooklyn last year. Considering that Doumbouya is just two years removed from almost being a lottery pick, and Bembry’s contract situation, the 2020-21 Raptors fan favorite could be on the chopping block.
The Nets could cut former Toronto Raptors forward DeAndre’ Bembry.
Bembry’s 5.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game might not look like earth-shattering numbers, but his 51% clip from the field was the best average of his career, and he provided some high-level defense to go along with that offensive step forward. Bembry was too athletic for guards to get around and too big for forwards to bully through.
Bembry had just a $750,000 partial guarantee for this season, meaning he is in the same boat as many of the Raptors non-guarantees fighting for a spot on the roster. We know for sure that the Nets starting backcourt is taken care of, and with the likes of Joe Harris, Cam Thomas, and Bruce Brown on the roster, Bembry could be cut in favor of Doumbouya.
It wouldn’t take long for Bembry to latch on elsewhere if Brooklyn cuts him, especially if he continues to make improvements as a jump-shooter. Likewise, Johnson’s 20-20 game earlier this season should get teams interested.
A return to Toronto is unlikely given how close the Raptors are to the hard cap and the fact that their roster is close to being fully populated, but crazier things have happened. He clearly took a step forward under Nick Nurse, and Bembry would likely be welcomed back with open arms if they could make the money work.