The NBA lockout isn’t over yet, but it’s coming… and when it does, there’s a good chance it’ll include some sort of amnesty clause.
On a completely unrelated note, if the Nets, oh, say, decide to look for a small forward in free agency, here’s our thoughts on who they should target:
1) Who should be the Nets’ #3 small forward target in free agency?
Sandy Dover: Shane Battier, and it’s fairly simple why. He’s been a winner, he’s a veteran, he can defend wings and some in the post, and he can spread the floor as needed. Shane’s about the most professional player in the league, and his communication skills are top-notch. He knows the floor and is one of the best teammates in the NBA in the past decade, something that New Jersey can always use.
Mark Ginocchio: Tayshaun Prince has a championship pedigree and can still play defense. He’s also still good enough on the offensive end and would probably see an uptick in his production from having Deron Williams on the same roster. He’s the kind of versatile, all-purpose supporting cast player that I would really like to see this front office focus on in terms of forging an identity around D-Will.
Devin Kharpertian: I’d love to see the Nets go after Grant Hill. Yes, he’d be on a one-year contract, two at most, but Grant’s a smart player who’s in the league this late in the game because of his ability to adjust. He’s become an excellent shooter at this late stage of his career, and still defends well. He’s not my #1 choice, but he’s a great safety school.
2) Who should be the Nets’ #2 small forward target in free agency?
Sandy Dover: Grant Hill. He’s similar to Shane Battier, but Grant’s always fresher than Shane and he’s versatile enough to play the point when necessary, potentially a great option when Deron Williams needs some rest or can create some match-up issues off the ball.
Mark Ginocchio: Caron Butler is an interesting possibility. I know he’s coming off a pretty bad injury, but if the Nets decide instead that they only way they can beat other teams is to just barrage them offensively (remember, after the D-Will trade, the team’s pace and offensive efficiency went up), Butler could fit in very well between Williams and Brook Lopez as a perimeter scorer.
Devin Kharpertian: Not just for the Russian connection — New Jersey should target Andrei Kirilenko, if only because he can do everything. He’s a decent scorer, shooter defender, rebounder, and passer. He can defend multiple positions. He’s got a solid amount of experience playing with Deron Williams, and he won’t come at premium-level price. If they can’t get my #1 choice, Kirilenko is the next best thing.
3) Who should be the Nets’ #1 small forward target in free agency?
Sandy Dover: It should be Caron Butler. Although Caron is coming off knee surgery and offseason rehab, his strength as a scorer would only help the Nets. He’s not given a lot of credit as a defender, but he’s solidly average, and that’s better than bad. Having someone like Caron who can beat defenders off the dribble as a penetrator, shoot from the perimeter, and function as an offensive threat only makes New Jersey’s execution stronger. Caron would only really need to do what he knows best — which is score and play solid team defense — and he’s been doing that for years now. His comfort zone is the Nets’ gold at the 3.
Mark Ginocchio:: I’m a big fan of Thaddeus Young, and while I know he’s going to be hard to pry away from Philadelphia because he’s an RFA, I’m sure Billy King can take advantage of the team’s cap situation and maybe frontload an offer sheet in some way (all depending on the CBA of course). Young is not the best perimeter guy, but he’s a fantastic offensive rebounder and just finds a way to score around the basket. Pair him with a guy who can distribute the ball as well as Deron, and the results could be incredible.
Devin Kharpertian: If they can find a way to get him, Thaddeus Young. Thad is the kind of guy we envisioned Outlaw to be, except actually talented. At 22 years old, Young put up a career high 18.4 PER, averaging 17-7 per 36 minutes on 54% shooting. He can play stretch 4, score in the post, and fly. He’s mostly an “at the rim” guy, but he’s also a career 34% shooter from deep, and the Nets could use a plaything for Deron Williams to throw lobs to.