NBA free agency: Nets to sign Patty Mills to two-year, $12 million contract, per report

The Brooklyn Nets have won the Patty Mills sweepstakes. Mills will join the team on a two-year, $12 million contract, with a player option on the second year, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers were among the teams reportedly trying to sign him. 

Mills, 32, gives the Nets even more offensive firepower. The point guard will come off the bench behind James Harden and Kyrie Irving, and his shooting will complement Brooklyn’s stars. Mills has made more than 40 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s in each of the last three seasons, and more than 40 percent of 3-pointers categorized as “wide open” (i.e. with at least six feet between him and the closest defender) in seven of the eight seasons that the league has tracked such things, per Next to Harden, Irving, Kevin Durant and Joe Harris, he will get more unguarded spot-up looks than he’s ever had in his life.

For the Nets, getting Mills on a discount is just the latest bit of good news less than 24 hours into free agency. Before finalizing the deal, they retained Bruce Brown on his one-year qualifying offer ($4.7 million) and Blake Griffin on a one-year deal, per ESPN. Griffin took a minimum contract to compete for a championship in Brooklyn, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, and presumably so did free agent forward James Johnson, who will also sign a one-year contract, per ESPN

Salary-cap aficionados have already noted that Brooklyn used its taxpayer midlevel extension to sign Mills. For a team that now has a payroll of about $300 million, including the luxury-tax bill, this was the biggest tool it had at its disposal in free agency. The Nets now have 14 players under contract, including Alize Johnson’s non-guaranteed deal, and not including free agents Mike James, Tyler Johnson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Reggie Perry and Chris Chiozza.

The Mills signing is an example of the rich getting richer, sure, but it’s also the kind of move that capped-out contenders need to make. The Nets already lost stretch 5 Jeff Green, who is headed to the Denver Nuggets on a two-year, $10 million deal, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews, and moved sharpshooter Landry Shamet to the Phoenix Suns in the draft-day trade that brought back Jevon Carter and the No. 29 pick that became Day’Ron Sharpe. Mills should be seen as a replacement for Shamet in the backcourt rotation, and in that respect this is a clear win: Not only is he an upgrade, Brooklyn got a first-rounder out of it. 

The Nets will miss Green’s floor spacing and ability to guard multiple positions in smallball lineups, but they lessened the blow by bringing back Griffin and Brown, who both played effectively played center for most of their minutes last season. Johnson can also function in that role, and, with Sharpe and Nicolas Claxton in the mix, coach Steve Nash will once again have all sorts of options in the frontcourt to go with an absolutely stacked backcourt. 

Now that Mills has been secured, the next order of business should be finalizing the Spencer Dinwiddie sign-and-trade that will reportedly send him to the Washington Wizards. Will the Nets dump DeAndre Jordan’s $9.9 million expiring contract? Will they create a big trade exception? In their position, these are not small details.  

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