NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets took Florida State forward Mfiondu Kabengele with the No. 27 selection in the first round of the NBA draft Thursday night, and Georgia 7-footer Nic Claxton with the first pick of the second round.
The 6-foot-10, 256-pound Kabengele is strong inside and has good touch from 3-point range, making 37% from beyond the arc in two seasons with the Seminoles. The 217-pound Claxton made a big jump in his sophomore season, leading the Southeastern Conference in blocked shots and going from 3.9 points per game as a freshman to 13.0 in 2018-19.
Officially, the Nets owned the 17th pick coming into draft night, too, but two weeks ago they agreed to trade that and guard Allen Crabbe, along with a 2020 first-round selection, to Atlanta. That pick was used to take Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who is on his way New Orleans after a draft-day deal between the Pelicans and Hawks.
Brooklyn received forward Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick in the deal, but more importantly the Nets cleared more room under the salary cap.
The Nets were already in position to be able to afford a max salary player in a loaded free-agent class that includes Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving. Moving Crabbe’s 18.5 million salary for 2019-20, moves them closer to being able to sign two stars. And they might not be done dealing.
The Nets made a surprising run to the playoffs last season, behind the emergence of guard D’Angelo Russell and a core of young players that includes Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. Brooklyn lost to Philadelphia in the first round.
Source: Fox Sports