The New Jersey Nets appear to be nearing the completion of the roster they will open the 2011-12 NBA season with on Monday against the Washington Wizards. According to multiple media reports, the team is set to sign guard DeShawn Stevenson to a one-year deal, a player that minority owner Jay-Z wrote a "diss" song about three years ago.
To make room for Stevenson on the roster, the Nets announced they have waived veteran forward Stephen Graham. New Jersey had to waive Graham Thursday to prevent his $1.1 million contract from being guaranteed. There's a good chance he is brought back to the team on a non-guaranteed deal after the season begins as he's a favorite of head coach Avery Johnson.
Graham played 10 minutes in the Nets preseason finale against the New York Knicks Wednesday night. He appeared in 59 games with the Nets last season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Stevenson was on the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks last season, averaging 5.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in 72 games. He scored nine points in the decisive Game 6 victory over the Miami Heat, but is still best known for his feud with LeBron James that has included verbal jabs through the media, dust ups on the court and a song from Jay-Z during the 2008 NBA playoffs when Stevenson was with the Wizards and James was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Though the Nets already have Anthony Morrow and MarShon Brooks at shooting guard, Stevenson brings a level of defensive intensity neither player can offer. With a 66-game sprint of a season, teams will need to find as many players as possible that can help exploit the expected sloppy play thanks to crazy stretches like the six games in eight nights New Jersey opens the season facing.