In addition to building their roster through free agency and trades, the Nets also have to consider bringing back some of their own guys this summer. The NAS takes a look at the team’s current crop of free agents and determines who stays and who goes.
You Got To Go: Brandan Wright is not an impact player. Period. He’s tall and athletic, which has a certain value, but Brandan Wright’s presence doesn’t help you win a ton of games. Wright is one of those guys that looks great in a small sample size, makes you say “hey, that guy should be playing more,” then reminds you why he’s a bench player when given those minutes. He’s not an effective post player on either side of the ball. He’s not a smart defensive player, nor is he quick enough to rotate to spot-up shooters. He’s fought injuries to his groin, ankle, wrist, back, and shoulder – the latter resulting in season-crushing surgery two years ago.
Roster spots are valuable. If you want to build a real championship team, Brandan Wright is a guy you sign after you have your front nine in place. The Nets have their front two in place – one might argue just their front one. Preserving a precious roster spot for a guy like Brandan Wright before seeing what’s out there would just be a bad move by a front office that’s played great poker so far this season.
I Guess You Could Stay: Brandan Wright is still just 23 years old. His injuries have been the flukish type, suggesting a guy who’s down on his luck more than he’s actually injury-prone. He has always been a talented player, just without the requisite time on the floor to become a good one. He’s got a surefire NBA body, and given what the Nets have now at the backup big spots, he’d be an upgrade over Johan Petro.
Given his track record, Wright’s not going to command a lot of cap space in his next contract. He’ll be heading into this next one with something to prove; if he doesn’t show a significant increase in playing time and skill level, it may be his last. That should be more than enough motivation for a guy who might finally have the “fully healthy” and “semi-veteran” superlatives attached to him for the first time in his career.
The Final Verdict: He should go. I like Brandan Wright a lot. I like that he has an NBA body, and that he’s better than Johan Petro. But if the Nets were picking their roster spots on the measure of “is this guy better than Johan Petro?” then I would’ve been signed years ago. Wright has already missed a full season and has difficulty creating his own shot against NBA-level defenses. That alone is enough for me to request that the Nets pass.
That said, I don’t think the window is officially closed, or should be. There’s almost always the “if the price is right” caveat in any one of these situations; if the Nets pull off some serious moves to solidify the front nine of their roster, then I’d have no problem with them bringing in a guy like Wright on a small, incentive-laden contract. He’s the perfect guy for something like that: if you’re as great as the world once believed you could be, you’ll earn your money’s worth, and be on the path to a real NBA career. If you’re not? Then your paycheck will reflect it.
Still, I think in this instance, the Nets won’t be in a position where a Brandan Wright signing would be an extraneous 11th man signing. Because of that, I think the Nets and Wright will rightfully part ways.