Four writers here at The Brooklyn Game roundtable about what the Nets should do with their open roster spot.
1. Should the Nets sign Jason Collins?
- Devin Kharpertian: I hope they sign him, change the culture of basketball forever, and play him one minute per game. Collins plays a little defense, but even if he's in shape he's not the type of athletic, rebounding forward the Nets need to shore up their front line. But I'm all for making history.
- Benjamin Nadeau: No, unless they can't get anyone else. Collins wasn't really good for anything other than five fouls a night, and that was almost six years ago. It would be a great moment to bring Collins back to the franchise, but I don't think he's the answer.
- Will Rausch: Yes. Has he been out of the game for a while? Yup. Will he be an impact player for the Nets? Probably not. But he's likely to be as much of an impact player as any that the Nets would get now that the trade deadline has passed.
Many from either side of the cultural spectrum will say that his sexual orientation shouldn't matter when evaluating him for a roster spot. I say hogwash. It would be great to live in a society where Collins' sexual orientation is of no more importance than Dwight Howard's love for skittles, or J.R. Smith's propensity for untying shoes. But we don't live in that society, so having the first openly gay athlete on a major sports roster matters. And ever since Jay-Z chose the iconic black and white threads for the Brooklyn Nets, the relocated franchise has cared about its space in the cultural universe.
- Max Weisberg: Yes. I know Jason Collins is washed up and likely won't make an on-the-court impact if the Nets were to sign him, but he's a great locker room guy, he has familiarity with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Kidd, and it would mark the second time a Brooklyn franchise has broken a long-standing barrier in sports (Jackie Robinson being the other). There is little risk to awarding Collins a 10-day contract and hoping that his professionalism can have an impact on some of the younger Nets. Throw in the fact that he is allegedly in shape and could provide some post-defense and rebounding when Garnett rests, it's a low-risk signing with a healthy reward.
2. Should the Nets pursue Glen Davis?
- Kharpertian: I've detailed this in an earlier post, but my inclination is no. He'd be another body they have to feed minutes to that they don't really have them for. He's not significantly more productive than what they have, and they're already splitting those minutes.
- Nadeau: Yes. He's loud, he comes off obnoxious, but he worked hard. Most of Davis's best basketball was played alongside Garnett. Remember when Garnett made him cry? Maybe Garnett's influence can help. Offensively, he'll provide some bench punch as well, unlike Collins.
- Rausch: No. The Nets need a big, not a round. Glen Davis can certainly play, but Big Baby fits even less of a need than Jason Collins would.
- Weisberg: Yes, if they miss on Jason Collins. Davis is familiar with Garnett and Pierce, and he did help the Celtics nearly win a title in 2010, so there's not much worry about his locker room presence. But the Nets should look for a hard-working professional (and a backup center) than an undersized power forward who could prove costly.
3. If not Collins or Davis... Who?
- Kharpertian: There's slim pickings in the D-League, but maybe they could give Justin Hamilton from Sioux Falls a look. He's a seven-footer averaging 19 points and 9 boards per game in the D-League this season, with three-point range. They could also look at Ivan Johnson, who's currently playing in China. But these are last resorts.
- Nadeau: Danny Granger? Move Andrei Kirilenko permanently to power forward? I don't know. But we might as well use the spot, right? Maybe I've been spoiled. I guess I'm still bitter we didn't give Bynum a try. But, does it matter who they sign? Does it get Brooklyn past Miami or Indiana? Probably not. Okay, I'll take my bitter pill elsewhere.
- Rausch: D-Leaguer, maybe. Give a flyer to some guy busting his hump and maybe you'll catch lighting in a bottle a la Gerald Green in 2012. The problem is that the top prospects in the D-League are mostly guards and small forwards, not bigs.
- Weisberg: Took a look at some free agent centers. Best one I could find was...Johan Petro. So, nobody.