Nets bolster roster with Padgett and Murray

New Jersey Nets:
Say this about the Nets: They have not stopped trying to improve their roster.

The Nets on Thursday announced the signings of free agent
forwards Scott Padgett and Lamond Murray, both of whom likely
will serve as backups. Terms were not disclosed.

This summer, the Nets thought they had struck a deal with free
agent forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim but reneged when a physical
showed Abdur-Rahim had a balky knee. They also pursued free
agent forward Robert Traylor but backed out when Traylor failed
his physical.

Meanwhile, the Nets, who overcame injuries and adversity to make
the playoffs last season, have signed guard Jeff McInnis and
forward Linton Johnson, re-signed forward Cliff Robinson and
traded for center Marc Jackson. All are pegged as reserves,
deepening the team's roster.

"Our main objective was to add quality depth to our team so that
our starters did not have to log as many minutes over the
course of the season," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "We feel
that we have provided our core with the necessary depth to
compete successfully in the Eastern Conference."

The 6-9 Padgett joins his third team. He averaged 4.2 points
and 2.8 rebounds in 66 games for Houston last season, his sixth
in the NBA. In 355 career games, he has averaged 4.6 points and
2.8 rebounds while shooting nearly 39 percent from 3-point

"He is a proven NBA veteran who will add depth to our frontcourt
rotation," Thorn said.

The 6-7 Murray was waived earlier this week by Toronto. He
averaged 6.0 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Raptors last
season, his 10th in the league.

A former college teammate of Nets point guard Jason Kidd at
California, Murray has averaged 11.9 points and 4.3 rebounds
while shooting 36 percent from the arc in 679 games for the Los
Angeles Clippers, Cleveland and Toronto.

"Lamond will provide us with a legitimate outside scoring threat
off the bench," Thorn said. "He shot almost 44 percent from
[3-point range] last season and his range will enhance our
half-court attack."

Houston Rockets: Free-agent power forward Lonny Baxter signed with
the Rockets on Thursday.

Baxter, a second-round draft pick out of Maryland in 2002, has
been with four teams. He played four games for New Orleans last
season and has also played for Chicago, Toronto and Washington.

He spent the summer in the Rockets' summer league in Minnesota,
where he averaged 21 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals in five

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.