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NBA Free Agency: Where Former ‘Canes are Headed

The three former Miami Hurricane men’s basketball players in the NBA each inked new deals during the first 24 hours of free agency.

NCAA Basketball Tournament Photo by David Klutho/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The National Basketball Association’s free agency began on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Miami Hurricanes were highly involved.

Three players represented Miami in the NBA during the 2021-22 season; Bruce Brown, Lonnie Walker, and Davon Reed. All three of those players signed new deals in the first 24 hours of free agency, two of them landing on the same team.

Lonnie Walker IV

After finishing his rookie contract with the San Antonio Spurs, Lonnie Walker IV signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year, $6.5 million deal using the mid-level exception.

Walker had his best scoring season in the NBA in 2021-22, averaging 12.1 points and 2.2 assists per game. Though he had the worst three-point shooting season of his career, he brings scoring to a Lakers team that struggled with floor-spacing last season.

San Antonio originally put in a qualifying offer on Walker, which made him a restricted free agent, giving them the ability to bring him back if they were willing to match offers from other teams. They pulled that offer about 24 hours before free agency officially began.

Walker spent the 2017-18 season with the Hurricanes, averaging 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 32 games. He had 12 points and two rebounds in a first-round loss to Loyola in the NCAA Tournament.

Bruce Brown

Maybe the biggest news of this trio was Bruce Brown taking a pay cut to sign with the Denver Nuggets. After spending the last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, Brown decided to move on from the dysfunction and sign with a team that needed solid role players.

Brown’s deal is for the same amount as Walker’s, but also has a player option in the second year. The two-year, $13 million deal is much smaller than what he could have received elsewhere with his great defensive ability and improved offense.

Last season, Brown had a career-best scoring average at 9 points per game while also averaging 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He added 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game while also having his best shooting percentage from behind the arc at 40.4 percent.

Brown spent his first two seasons in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons after being selected with the 42nd overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He was a part of a three-team trade in 2020 that sent him to Brooklyn.

Brown spent two seasons with Miami from 2016-2018. He averaged 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 52 games. His sophomore season ended early due to injury, but he is probably best remembered for having two of the three triple-doubles in program history.

Davon Reed

After finding a home in Denver last season on a two-way deal, Davon Reed signed back with the Nuggets on a two-year deal.

Reed’s career didn’t seem like it was going in the right direction after being out of the league from 2019 to 2021. He was drafted 32nd overall by the Phoenix Suns, was waived after one season, and then signed a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers for the 2018-19 season.

It wasn’t until the 2022 Summer League when Denver brought him in late to fill a spot when his NBA career seemed like it may have been coming to an end. But he showed he can do a lot of things pretty well and that the Nuggets could use him in some way.

He signed three 10-day contracts with Denver last season before getting a two-way contract to finish out the year.

He had a lot of moments that were memorable including locking up LeBron James for multiple possessions, hitting five of seven three-pointers in a win over Golden State, and rushing the court too early on an Aaron Gordon game-winning shot against the Los Angeles Clippers.

But his solid play on both ends of the floor has Reed returning to an NBA team for a second season for the first time in his career after playing in more games in 2021-22 than he had in the four seasons prior combined.

Reed played at Miami for four seasons from 2013-2017. He averaged 10.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists over 131 games played. During his final season in 2016-17, Reed led the team at 14.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.