Last week, we looked at the free agent market for small forwards. The Nets still face questions at the other forward position, too — a much thinner market. Today, Justin DeFeo, Dennis Velasco, and I try our hand at answering those questions:
1) Before free agency: Is Kris Humphries worth re-signing?
Justin DeFeo: In a vacuum, without knowing the market for other power forwards, yes, Humphries is worth re-signing. He’s a professional, he’s entering the prime of his career, and he’s proven he can succeed playing alongside Brook Lopez. Plus, coach Avery Johnson already endorsed his return, so at this point it’s safe to say the Nets should have more use for Hump than Kim Kardashian did.
Devin Kharpertian: No. Humphries is a great rebounder and a good finisher at the rim, but after a career season both on and off the court his price will likely just be too high for Nets brass. It’s better to save that money for a better player if the opportunity arises, or pay for a one-year stopgap until the free agency bonanza of 2012.
Dennis Velasco: Nope. After a relatively productive season that gained Humphries some court credibility, his price may be too high for the Nets’ overall plan, which I’ll assume is trading for/outright signing Dwight Howard. Of course it’s worth investigating Humphries’ price, but after a (very public) disintegration of his short marriage, he may need the dough after getting a taste of the ridiculously good life that will soon be snatched from him in another type of court.
2) During free agency: who’s the best fit for New Jersey?
Justin DeFeo: If Hump gets an offer he can’t refuse elsewhere, the Nets will need to address PF via free agency. They’ll need someone who can play well alongside Brook, so preferably an athlete who can rebound and doesn’t need plays ran for him to score. Looking at the list of potential FA’s, I’m drawn to guys like Chuck Hayes, maybe Glen Davis or Shawne Williams. Also, call me crazy, but does bringing back Kenyon Martin at a reduced price entice anyone? Anyone?
Devin Kharpertian: None. David West is a great scorer, but you can’t win if Kevin Love and Dwight Howard single-handedly out-rebounded your frontcourt combined in 2010-11. Carl Landry took a step back last year, and Kenyon Martin’s last legs are on their last legs. If they can coax one of these guys into a one or two-year deal, then maybe there’s a chance, but I don’t see a legitimate matchmaking opportunity beyond that.
Dennis Velasco: Honestly and ideally, none. We have no idea what the salary cap will be or what clauses of the CBA is certain, but if the plan is to acquire Howard, it seems the best bet would be during next offseason since by all accounts the Nets’ supposed offer of Brook Lopez, Anthony Morrow, and draft picks won’t be the most enticing to the Orlando Magic. That said, the Nets will need all the cap space they can get to have room for both Howard and signing Deron Williams to an extension.
3) After free agency: should the Nets pursue a trade?
Justin DeFeo: The Nets are still in roster shaping mode, gearing for our move to Brooklyn. So any trade we complete now should either bring in more assets for us to use in later deals, and keep our financial flexibility. But, just for fun, I’d sign off on this deal.
Devin Kharpertian:: If D12 isn’t going the trade route and could be had in free agency, I don’t see a viable one. That said, I’ve long been a fan of the Nets finding a way to acquire the Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith or Al Horford. Smith could be had more easily, but I’m not sure he’s worth trading Brook Lopez; Horford is the better player, but I don’t think Atlanta will deal him. Perhaps a deal including Marvin Williams could work, but his contract limits financial flexibility.
Dennis Velasco: Only if a trade is for Howard… yes, I’m beating that horse zombie-dead. To meet assumed salary cap matching, the Nets will offer the aforementioned Lopez, Morrow, draft picks, and will probably need to include someone like Travis Outlaw. But, what if (and the Nets probably will) opt to use the proposed exempt clause on Outlaw now? Maybe they drop Outlaw and choose to sign Humphries before the season with the aim to include him in a Howard trade. However, that’s dangerous assuming on the level of “Carmelo Anthony will be a Net.” Honestly, so is “Howard will be a Net.” I’m a downer.