Nic Claxton says he just has to hope he gets touches for Nets: ‘I’m open a lot’

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Nic Claxton seems to be analyzing his offensive role with the Brooklyn Nets as he heads toward possibly becoming a free agent after this season.

“I’m open a lot,” Claxton told the New York Post. “I’ve just got to keep putting myself in the right spots and hope that I get the ball.”

Claxton just completed an up-and-down week which highlights what he might be talking about. He had a season-low three shot attempts on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans, then shot 9-of-12 from the field against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday before getting just five attempts in a loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday.

The 24-year-old entered Saturday averaging 8.4 field-goal attempts per game while shooting 63.2 percent from the field, resulting in an average of 12.2 points per game. He also is contributing in other ways, as he entered Saturday averaging a career-high 9.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest. His defense is also a major strength.

Claxton’s somewhat successful season hasn’t paid off in winning results for the Nets, however. The loss to the Knicks was their sixth in a row overall and their eighth defeat in their past nine games.

The Nets are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with a 26-45 record after the loss Saturday. They trail the Atlanta Hawks by five games for 10th place, the final position for the play-in round, with just 11 games remaining on their schedule.

Claxton has pretty much seen it all with Brooklyn since he was a second-round pick (No. 31 overall) in the 2019 NBA Draft. A former teammate of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden during their turbulent time with the Nets, he is playing for his fourth head coach (currently Kevin Ollie) in just his fifth NBA season.

But it seems extremely likely that this will be the first season Claxton’s team will not compete in the playoffs since his league debut. All of those factors, along with him seemingly unsure of his role with the team on offense, could have him looking for greener pastures as a free agent this summer.

As a player who has almost averaged a double-double in two straight seasons, he could have value to many teams and reportedly may be able to command a contract worth more than $20 million per season on the open market.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.