Luis Scola has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Scola was never really expected to come back, reading the tea leaves. His veteran leadership and the Raptors owning his non-Bird Rights made it possible he could have been a fallback option as a depth power forward if the market left the Raptors empty-handed.
That’s not an indictment on Scola the person, who was a boon for the team on a decent contract a year ago. The 36-year-old veteran was a massive locker room presence, serving as a mentor and steadying hand on a young team and providing the perspective of a wealth of experience during a deep and unfamiliar playoff run. He was invaluable off the floor.
Unfortunately, the Raptors needed to upgrade that spot in the rotation. Scola started the bulk of the season and the a Raptors managed to win 56 games anyway, despite Scola’s performance declining late in the year after a surprisingly effective start. He remained a decent scoring threat and a provider of energy – he seemingly drew a charge in the opening minutes of every game – but he was tough to pair with Jonas Valanciunas defensively, and most of the starting lineups the Raptors tried struggled compared to their other groups. To his credit, he emerged as a much-improved long-range shooter, knocking down 40.4 of his 161 3-point attempts after hitting just 10 triples in his career to that point. His rebounding, once elite, declined as the Raptors tasked him with crashing less, and while his true-shooting went up, most of his offensive metrics declined as you’d expect from a player his age.
Still, the Nets are getting a good piece here. On a young team looking to erase a losing culture, Scola’s leadership could be huge for them. Where he figures into their rotation is unclear this early in the offseason, but the Nets could probably plug him in to a role similar to the one he played for the Raptors later in the year. They just can’t ever, ever play him alongside Brook Lopez if they hope to defend passably. Scola’s also now shown, to no surprise, that he’s willing to come off the bench or play sparingly if the situation calls for it.
Scola’s presence will be missed around Toronto, to be sure. He was a big cultural piece this year, and with the Raptors also losing Bismack Biyombo on that front, they’ll need to hope a deep playoff run and another year together for the matured holdovers can carry last year’s culture over. Given how well the Raptors have built the personality of this team – Jared Sullinger is a fit, according to several – that’s not much of a worry. But pour one out for Scola, anyway, and condition your hair just a little more liberally in his honor today.