The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

The Deck Chair Shuffle

Nets trade! Whoo Hoo! Or, possibly: who? WHO?

You can’t say anything here is earth-shatteringly important, but there are two main implications. The first is that, whether for financial reasons, cap reasons or humanitarian reasons, the Nets are able to dump Eduardo Najera’s contract. It had two more years to run beyond this one at $2.8 and $2.6 million, and while Najera is usually the definition of Solid Veteran Presence he’s been awful and usually injured since coming to the Nets. It’s hard to think he’s been around often enough to have much of a positive influence off the court, he certainly hasn’t had much of one ON the court, and in Kris Humphries he’s being swapped for a player who’s 9 years younger with a year less on his contract (and maybe none if he doesn’t exercise his player option for next year; I have no idea what the chances are about that). That’s pretty much a win on talent, and probably the best for all sides- Najera plays for an organization he’s familiar with, the Mavs get a veteran they think they can trust, the Nets get some long-term cap relief and arguably the most talented guy in the deal. Humphries will get enough PT to advertise himself for the offseason if he so desires, and may help the Nets evade historical ignominy in the process. A sensible trade.

The second implication though is the collateral damage, namely Sean Williams. His leaving now probably just accelerates an inevitable offseason departure, but it’s still sad to see. To some degree the team bears a bit of the responsibility for what happened with him: Lawrence Frank had a tendency to play him erratic minutes for unknown reasons and to pull him quickly after one mistake, usually for the balance of a game- not a great way to help a young talent along and reminiscent of similar botch jobs like the Bulls and Tyrus Thomas. That said, the majority of it is on Swat himself. I hate the stereotype of the lazy NBA prospect who wants to coast on talent and doesn’t really care- it disrespects too many players and for the most part is hogwash- but there are times when it’s not entirely unjust when applied to an individual, and Williams is one of those cases. Athletically he’s immensely talented- strong but light, a great leaper, decently quick and fast getting out on the break, etc. But he’s got little to no feel for the game, limited skills (shooting range of dunk, shitty FT shooter, not much of a passer, slow to rotate, doesn’t anticipate cutters, etc.) and now in his third season he’s shown zero improvement. If you take PER as a decent measure since +/- isn’t great for showing improvement at this scale, he’s actually regressed: 13.84 as a rookie to 8.84 as a second year man to 7.23 this year. Throw in his reputation of attitude issues and it’s hard to find any reason to stick with him. He’s still got the athleticism and was a first round draft pick, so he’s a good bet to find a way to stay in the league- but right now he’s on his way to making the Stromile Swift career path look good.

Here’s hoping this trade plus exiling Rafer Alston helps light a fire under the Nets. All things being equal, a young-and-plucky team probably has a better chance of avoiding all-time ignominy this season than a collection of surly veterans working at half-speed and wishing they were anywhere else in the league. if you can’t add talent, at least improve the atmosphere.

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January 11, 2010 - Posted by | The Nets

1 Comment »

  1. I can see the headlines now…”Nets swap out Sean Williams to make way for Shawne Williams; hope newer, hipper spelling attracts more young people to games.”

    Comment by Wacy | January 11, 2010 | Reply


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