I’m fairly positive at least some of you are going to read this next assemblage of nouns, verbs and adjectives (and the occasional adverb) and think I’m being unfair or just plain misguided about Jordan Farmar, and I can’t say you’re 100 percent wrong. Even if I go about brandishing numbers and stats, which I’ll often do around these parts, there’s no getting around the fact that despite the team’s recent Deron William-less tailspin, Jordan Farmar has had himself a solid season in a Nets uniform and has done exactly what he was brought here to do – bring some stability off the bench in the PG role. That doesn’t change the fact that in an ideal world, before the start of next season (whenever that is), I believe the Nets should shed themselves of Farmar’s manageable, but still expendable contract (worth about $8.5 million over the next two years), while keeping Sundiata Gaines and Ben Uzoh as the primary back-ups to Deron Williams in 2011-12.
No, this is not an overreaction to Gaines’ 18 point, 6 rebound, 3 steals, 3 assists, 0 turnovers performance on Monday against Indiana, or a celebration of Uzoh’s triumphant return from the D-League later today. Rather this is just a pure statement of opinion – I think the Nets could allocate the money owed to Farmar in more effective ways besides giving $8 million to a guy to back-up arguably the best PG in the game.
When the Nets acquired Farmar last season, I thought he was a perfect foil for Devin Harris. He’s somebody who’s played in a winning system and would be able to consistently spell Harris (who was having his minutes limited by Avery Johnson because of his long-term injury issues), while providing a different look offensively – less dribble drive and more three-point shooting. Perfect. But the acquisition of DWill has changed things. Williams, outside of his tendon issues this year, and the 2008-09 season, has been a relatively healthy player who logs about 37 minutes per game. If Billy King answers my prayers and uses some of the team’s upcoming cap space towards a quality wing player who can score and play defense, thus relegating Anthony Morrow’s one-dimensional-ness (thought it’s a great dimension) to the bench, then there will truly be no need to utilize Farmar in any two-PG sets like Avery tends to do, nor will the Nets need him as a backcourt longball threat because that will be provided by Morrow. So in reality, the Nets will be paying Farmar close to $4 million next season to play 11 minutes a game, while getting a spot start for Williams maybe 5 or 6 times for the whole season. There has to be a better use of funds than that.
Gaines, meanwhile, seems to have quickly earned the trust of the Nets, getting himself a contract through the rest of this season and next year after two 10-day stints. I’m sure it helps that he has backed-up Deron Williams in the past in Utah and has familiarity with the way DWill runs the offense. If the Nets retain Uzoh next season, who hasn’t demonstrated any reason why he can’t be a decent third-stringer in another year or so, the organization will have four PGs on their roster. That level of depth makes no sense when your starting PG is Deron Williams.
So yes, I understand that Farmar has hit some huge shots for the Nets this year, and has done exactly what he’s been asked to do in a satisfactory way. And yes, I know that the Nets have been both better offensively and defensively with Farmar on the court. But ask yourself this – what kind of roster would you rather see the Nets construct around Deron Williams? One with starting caliber-players at the SG and SF slots and/or another quality big man to rotate in with Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries (Big Baby Glen Davis anyone?), or a team with less talent in the starting line-up, but one of the better back-up PGs in the league? I believe, there are a number of teams that could use Jordan Farmar on their roster next season – I just don’t think the Nets are one of them.