Free-agent big man Noah Vonleh is expected to sign a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday morning.
The 25-year-old last played during the 2019-20 campaign, appearing in 29 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves and an additional seven with the Denver Nuggets.
He was preparing to start the delayed 2020-21 season with the Chicago Bulls, but he was waived on Dec. 14 after testing positive for COVID-19.
A ninth-overall pick of the 2014 draft out of Indiana, Vonleh played for six teams over his six-year career, including the 2018-19 season with the Knicks. He appeared in 68 games that season with New York, averaging 8.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game.
In Brooklyn, Vonleh provides some much-needed depth for a Nets team that sapped a majority of its resources in the James Harden trade last month.
With an ability to play both the power forward and center spots, Vonleh can immediately be put in the rotation at the 4 alongside Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Jeff Green while Kevin Durant finishes up his seven-day quarantine after he was exposed to a team member who tested positive for the virus.
More importantly, the 6-foot-10 Vonleh can provide another option behind veteran center DeAndre Jordan, who has been thrust into the starting role after the Nets sent Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a part of the Harden mega-deal.
Jordan has started 12 of the Nets’ last 13 games, averaging 8.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game.
When he’s gone to the bench, the Nets have been forced to play a smaller lineup with the 6-foot-8 Green or even Durant playing the 5 at times.
The Nets also recently signed shot-blocking aficionado, Norvel Pelle, back on Jan. 22. He made his team debut on Saturday, playing 17 minutes with two points and three blocks.