More than half of the Nets’ final roster could be gone next season, depending on various factors; Kyrie Irving and Patty Mills both have player options, but even if both opt-in, only eight players are under contract for 2022-23.
One of those who may have played their last game in black and white is Goran Dragic, who joined the team in late February after sitting out most of the season and being bought out following a trade from Toronto to San Antonio.
Dragic played just 21 games as a Net (counting the playoffs), and while he was “sad and pissed” about how the season ended, he’s looking forward to the future.
“I need time to process this, so it’s tough to say right now,” Dragic said when asked if he’d like to be back. “I love basketball and still want to play another two or three years, so we’ll see what happens.”
Dragic has seen a lot in his 14-year NBA career, and as this is the second straight season his team has been swept out of the playoffs in the first round (Miami was bounced in four by the eventual champion Bucks in ’21), he knows what those coming back need to do to get over it.
“Everybody is sad, but you just have to deal with it for a few days,” Dragic said. “You can take advantage of that as a challenge for the offseason, keep it in your mind and have that chip on our shoulder when you come back. We have good enough players to go far.”
And, whether or not he comes back, he can appreciate what Steve Nash – who was his mentor when Dragic was a young point guard in Phoenix – went through as a head coach this season to even get the Nets into the tournament.
“Every day for us was something different, something tough, for the players and coaches,” Dragic said. “I signed here, then James got traded, then we had a losing streak, then I got COVID…it’s all excuses, and I don’t like that. We just weren’t good enough, that’s it.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN