Chris Douglas-Roberts is a tremendous talent, there is no denying that. If the decision to pick up Chris Douglas-Roberts (the team has to execute an option on the final year for CDR’s 3 year deal by June 30th) was purely as basketball one, the Nets would do it in a heartbeat. He would be making under a million dollars and for a team looking to spend a ton of money in Free Agency, CDR is a huge bargain.
With all of the headaches that he causes off the court, however, the Nets may end up deciding that he isn’t worth the $854,389 he is due to make next season.
Last year was an interesting one for CDR. It started at summer league, where he played very well at the 2-guard position. That lead many people (including myself) to say he should come off the bench, instead of playing at SF. However, he proved all the “haters” wrong right off the bat, averaging nearly 20 points a game during the first two months of the season. He was being mentioned as an early candidate for the Most Improved Player award, and rightfully so.
After those first two months, there were some changes in Nets-land that really effected CDR’s season. Everybody started coming back from injuries (the Nets were decimated with injuries during the early part of the season), and Kiki was forced to take over as head coach of the Nets. These two events lead to less touches/minutes for CDR, and he did not react well to the situation. His blunt post game press conferences, ones that when he was playing well made him sound like the vocal leader, now consisted of him complaining about a “new system” and wondering out why guys like Courtney Lee are getting sets run for them, while he has to work for his own shot. Instead of going out there and proving that he deserves the touches, CDR went out and did the exact opposite, he stopped being aggressive and stopped looking for his own shot. Whether this was on purpose or not, I don’t know, but it got CDR in Kiki’s doghouse and he was never able to get out of it.
So why does last year matter? Kiki has been shown the door, there is going to be a brand new roster, and this is going to be a much better Nets team than last year. Well, despite all of that CDR might find himself in the same position as last year all over again. Think about it, the Nets already have Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams to play the wing positions on their roster. Even if they don’t get LeBron, they are more than likely going to bring in another All-Star (or at least starting) quality wing in Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, or someone else. T-Will showed at the end of the year last year, that he can play quality basketball at any one of three positions, so he will probably be the starting SG next to whatever free agent SF that is brought in, pushing Courtney Lee to the bench as the 6th man. CDR? He would be the second wing (not second player) off the bench. At a salary of $854,389, why not bring him on to be a Jamal Crawford type off the bench though right? Again, this is a simple basketball decision, but a tough decision all things considered. If CDR doesn’t get the minutes he deems necessary for himself, you already know what is going to happen, we saw it this past year. There are going to be the post game interviews in which he tells reporters he doesn’t know why he isn’t getting the minutes/touches he thinks he deserves, then you are going to get the strange post game tweets in which he isn’t really complaining, but he is.
In the end, my guess is that the Nets decide that CDR isn’t worth the headache (and I agree) and they don’t pick up the option on him. When that happens, teams really needing a scoring punch are going to be fighting each other to sign Douglas-Roberts on the cheap. In the right situation, he is going to play really well. When he does, there is no doubt in my mind that he will let Nets’ fans know all about it.