Keira Bates-Diop sees familiar faces after trade to Nets

Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson were abruptly moved from Phoenix to Brooklyn at last year’s trade deadline.

Now it’s former teammate Keita Bates-Diop’s turn.

The Nets traded veteran Royce O’Neal to the Suns for three second-round picks, cap relief, and 28-year-old Bates Diop, who underwent a similar whirlwind process for Bridges and Johnson a year ago. .

“I got a call from my agent around 11 o’clock. [he said] Something might pass. Then it happened, and it’s been a blur ever since,” Bates-Diop said before Saturday’s 123-103 win over the Spurs at Barclays Center. “But I’m happy to be here. I couldn’t be happier. …To be honest, when did we fly out here, there was a time change, essentially going through media day and then kind of semi-practice.” Ever since then, I’ve been in a daze. [Friday]. So to be honest, I’m excited for the match. That’s usually the only thing that’s easy for me. ”

Bates-Diop, who scored two points in four minutes in the Nets’ win, spent last season in Phoenix as teammates with Bridges and Johnson until the signing of Kevin Durant at the deadline.

Before that, he spent three seasons in San Antonio, playing alongside Lonnie Walker IV.

Keita Bates-Diop, who scored two points in his debut for the Nets, will be looking to rebound in the big win over the Spurs. Getty Images

“I see a lot of potential. [here], a lot. Many of the players are the same age, move the ball and play together.i know very well [Walker], Cam, Mikal, for a long time. So I’m excited to get ready with the guys,” said Bates-Diop, who made his only shot attempt in the first three minutes of Saturday’s Nets debut. “I’m so excited to play with Ronnie again. He’s so energetic. He’s been my buddy since day one in San Antonio. We did a lot of pre-draft workouts together, so it goes all the way back. With him. We’re excited to be back on the scene together.”

But less so when it comes to sticker shock and cost of living.

“That was like the second question I asked. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m moving, but what are my taxes going to be?’ I didn’t like that answer,” Bates-Diop laughed. “But you get used to it. A lot of people live here and I love it here. I’m always here, even in the off-season. So I’m relatively used to living here.”

At 6-foot-8 and with a 7-3 wingspan, Bates-Diop would fit into the Nets’ switch scheme. The Nets have returned to this switch scheme since January 5th against the Thunder. Bates-Diop has minimal player options for next season.

“Keita brings a high IQ and his intelligence is still improving. We’ll see what kind of impact he can have on both ends of the floor,” coach Jacques Vaughn said. “We had the opportunity to play him for the first time in Phoenix, so we knew he could fit into the system and space the floor, but also be a traditional big. Because he has a high IQ.”

Forward Keita Bates-Diop was acquired by the Nets at Thursday’s trade deadline in a deal with the Suns. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Ben Simmons scored a season-high 13 points with five assists, three steals, and two blocks. He made 6 of 7 shots and drove hard to the rim.

“I feel better. It takes time. It’s one of those things that goes up and down every day. But I’m just staying with it. Storms don’t last forever,” Simmons said. . “We’re going to get back to where we were. So we just stay there. And every day is a day that gets better.”

Rookie phenom Victor Wenbangyama scored 21 points, but despite averaging double-digit boards, he only made 7 of his 16 points and was held to 4 rebounds.

“He’s special, very unique,” said Simmons, who guarded the Frenchman where Nick Claxton didn’t and put his body on the rookie. “Being the No. 1 pick, I experienced guys attacking me every night. So whether it’s someone on your team or someone on the other team, it’s the older players pushing the younger players. That’s part of his obligation as a player. So I’m looking forward to watching him develop and I think he’s going to be a great person.”

Dennis Schroder had 15 points and 12 assists off the bench in the Nets’ 123-103 win over the Spurs. Robert Szabo of the New York Post

Dennis Schroder became the fifth Nets player to record double-digit assists in his team debut. He joined James Harden as the only players to add at least 15 points.

Dennis Smith Jr.’s 14 points were tied for the most this season.

On Thursday, a reporter mistakenly tweeted that Smith had been traded by the Nets.

“Do you get it [ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski] Tweet as an alert on your phone. …I saw my name pop up and thought, “Oh my god!” ” said Smith. “…my cell phone exploded. I couldn’t even take a nap before the game that day. I was sick.”

Claxton had 21 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. This is his fifth 20-10 record in 2023-24, tying the total from his first four seasons.

The Nets used their starting five for the first time: Bridges, Dorian Finney-Smith, Claxton, Cam Thomas and Simmons.