When the Brooklyn Nets swung the blockbuster trade to acquire James Harden earlier this month, they gave up four players in the process — Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs — which left them with only 13 players on their active roster.
While that was OK in the immediate aftermath of the deal, the league requires teams to have at least 14 players, which meant the Nets eventually had to sign someone. First, they signed big man Norvel Pelle to help address their lack of frontcourt depth, and now, they’re reportedly set to add veteran guard Iman Shumpert, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The 30-year-old Shumpert actually last played in the NBA with the Nets, suiting up for 13 games off the bench with the team last season before he was waived. He went unsigned this offseason and has spent the interim working out in hopes of a new opportunity which has now arrived.
This might not be the most exciting move but it’s easy to see why the Nets were interested in Shumpert. Between Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they have three of the most talented scorers in the league, and have no trouble putting up points. In fact, in their last game, they dropped a whopping 147 points on the Oklahoma City Thunder. But as great as their offense is, their defense is equally as bad.
Since Harden’s debut, they have the 27th-ranked defense in the league and are allowing 116.1 points per 100 possessions. Shumpert isn’t going to come in and solve all of those problems, but he made his name on the defensive end and can guard multiple positions on the perimeter. Even if he never becomes a major part of the rotation, he’s at least another option for coach Steve Nash to try out when they can’t get stops.