Nets Post-Up is a stream of consciousness post without editing. Luckily, the author can filter profanity, possesses excellent grammar, and isn’t lazy about spelling. Basically, he’s amazing… and types very slow.
We've already looked at the perceived top power forward options to sign during the 2011 offseason (Zach Randolph, David West, and Kris Humphries), but with Z-Bo likely re-signing with the Grizzles, West suffering a torn ACL, and Humphries gaining more steam as the definite power forward to (re-)sign, we now turn out attention to potential wings for the Nets to scoop up during free agency. Below is an alphabetical list of both restricted and unrestricted free agents that bears consideration, either for the long-term or short-term (because of age, but bringing that invaluable veteran savvy and experience, plus they may just have some gas left in the proverbial tank).
Restricted Free Agents
Arron Afflalo, SG, Denver Nuggets - 12.6 PPG; 13.51 PER; 25 years old
Marco Belinelli, SG, New Orleans Hornets - 10.3 PPG; 11.98 PER; 25 years old
Wilson Chandler, SF, Denver Nuggets - 15.9 PPG; 15.24 PER; 23 years old
Jeff Green, SF/PF, Boston Celtics - 14.2 PPG; 13.17 PER; 24 years old
Marcus Thornton, SG, Sacramento Kings - 11.3 PPG; 16.72 PER; 23 years old
Reggie Williams, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors - 9.4 PPG; 15.07 PER; 24 years old
Nick Young, SG, Washington Wizards - 17.6 PPG; 14.47 PER; 25 years old
Thaddeus Young, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers - 12.3 PPG; 18.19 PER; 22 years old
Unrestricted Free Agents
Ray Allen, SG, Boston Celtics (Player Option) - 17.1 PPG; 17.13 PER; 35 years old
Caron Butler, SF, Dallas Mavericks - 15.0 PPG; 14.34 PER; 31 years old
Jamal Crawford, SG, Atlanta Hawks - 14.3 PPG; 14.27 PER; 31 years old
Mike Dunleavy, SF, Indiana Pacers - 11.2 PPG; 14.30 PER; 30 years old
Grant Hill, SF, Phoenix Suns - 13.2 PPG; 14.87 PER; 38 years old
Josh Howard, SF, Dallas Mavericks - 8.4 PPG; 9.25 PER; 30 years old
Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Utah Jazz - 11.7 PPG; 16.66 PER; 30 years old
Jason Richardson, SG, Orlando Magic - 16.0 PPG; 15.36 PER; 30 years old
J.R. Smith, SG, Denver Nuggets - 12.1 PPG; 16.55 PER; 25 years old
Do you notice anything between the two lists? It's going to clearly be a bit more difficult for the Nets to get any player from the restricted free agent list since all of them are in their mid-20s or younger and probably a part of their current team's plans for the future. Other than Smith, the unrestricted free agent list is full of players 30 years or older. It'll be a harder task to get a solid wing player for the organization, but one never knows what will happen with the new CBA and any dealings with personnel teams may have in mind.
From the restricted free agent list, my preference would be for Thornton who has proven that he can be a significant contributor in the NBA when given the burn on the court. As a starter with the New Orleans Hornets last season (17 games), he averaged 19.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.1 3PTM, and 0.9 SPG in about 37 minutes. This season, he's started 12 games, all with the Sacramento Kings, and is averaging 21.5 PPG, 4.5 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.2 3PTM, and 1.9 steals in about 39 MPG. I know that there were many Hornets fans that weren't happy when Thornton was traded and that's for good reason. The kid has skills and I'm hoping that incumbent starting shooting guard and anointed franchise player Tyreke Evans doesn't like what's going on. Not that I would ever wish bad things for the Kings, but they're already dealing with a possible move to Anaheim, so my wish for ill will is a small and insignificant thing... but I will be praying.
I believe Afflalo would be a nice complementary player, but I don't think he can create his own shot consistently. Of course, playing with Deron Williams will make him better, but I think the Nets are better served going for someone that can score on his own, as well as from D-Will dimes. The same can be said for Belinelli. Chandler is intriguing because he seems to do everything well besides get assists, but that's not we need our wing to primarily do. Green can play either forward spot, but is he too much of a tweener and wouldn't be able to co-exist with the starting power forward (Humphries in all likelihood)? Williams has shown that he could be an offensive contributor, but is it because of the Golden State Warriors offense itself? Nick Young has broken out this season with his ability to score, but is he going to be an Avery Johnson type of guy? Thaddeus Young is the youngest of all the players and is the most efficient of them all. It's intriguing to think about what he could do with more playing time, but in the end, I'd rather stick with the guy from this group that has shown promise mixed with production, Thornton.
From the unrestricted free agent list, I like Smith, not only because he's the youngest, but he can score from the outside or inside and he's fearless. He has some attitude and it's both good and bad, so would he be worth the risk? I can see the clashing already with Avery, but if he can produce and the Nets win, that's all that matters. Playing alongside D-Will will definitely help matters.
Allen is in all likelihood re-upping with the Celtics because they will still have a shot for another championship after this season, come what may. A healthy Butler would be an excellent addition, but he's been too injury prone. If the Nets can get him at some sort of discount I wouldn't be too unhappy though. Crawford is interesting and I do think he still has some things to contribute, but at what price and for how long? The same goes for Richardson, whom I'd probably favor between the two. Dunleavy? See Butler. Howard? See Butler. Hill is 38 years old and I think a lot of his ability to still produce has a lot to do with the renowned Phoenix Suns medical staff. Kirilenko might be the signing here considering the rumor has been around for so long, as well as him having played for Mikhail Prokhorov in Russia previously.
My number one choice to sign would be Thornton considering the ceiling he's shown, as well as what's actually done so far. Smith would be second and easier to acquire. Who would you all want to sign?