The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Actual Team Signs Actual Basketball Player

Nets get Travis Outlaw, 5/$35

This one’s getting crapped on a bit, but I don’t hate it. Here’s a few reasons:

– Does not harm flexibility much. It’s not a great contract, but the Nets still have wiggle room to take on other people’s mistakes in return for draft picks, splurge if a major star unexpectedly becomes available, etc. You can say it’s more than Outlaw is worth, but as long as it doesn’t harm flexibility then as a fan I just don’t care- if Prokhorov wants to pay it, good on him.

– Years on the deal. This is ages 25-30 or 26-31 on Outlaw, the prime of the prime for a guy who’s already a six year veteran. He missed a lot of time last year, but he hasn’t been historically injury-prone and shouldn’t break down in the life of the deal.

– Output and character. His career PER is just about average (14.9), he’s usually considered a solid if not outstanding defender, he has a few clear skills (boarding, shooting, shot blocking), and he’s been on winning teams and comes in with a reputation as a thoroughly decent, hardworking and likable guy. Assuming that’s accurate, he’s exactly the sort of player I’d like to have around my extremely young team: a veteran who’s still young enough to relate to them, who knows his role and performs it without complaint, who has the experience of being on a winning team and takes coaching well.

– Versatility. He can play the 3 or the 4, can give you serious minutes in the short term as you try to keep the team respectable and can transition to the bench as a 6th man/effective role player as the team improves. He’s also great Stupid Youngin’ insurance as Favors, Damion James, T-Will and whoever else in the next 5 years learns to play the 4 or 3; if they need to be brought off the bench, he can start; if they’re starting and need to be benched for some reason, he’s a credible threat to step in and take the minutes. Given that he’s a career role player and knows it plus the fact that he’s on a long term guaranteed deal, he’s unlikely to be selfish or whine much over being asked to do different things.

– He’s not Tyrus Thomas. And thank goodness for that. More on that guy if that deal actually happens.

If you were expecting the Nets to sign the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Chuck Norris and a Tyranosaurus Rex as a backup plan once the LeBron thing died, you’re obviously going to be disappointed; if you accept that the team has for obvious reasons a longer-term plan and this is a strategic move which fills certain roles as part of that plan, you can take it for what it is and be fairly happy with it.

EDIT: in case you thought I was just excuse-making about the Nets’ having a longer term plan to build like the Thunder, here’s a reported piece from today stating that that is precisely, by name, what they intend to do. This is the reason I have such hope for the Nets in the long term: they have an owner who has more patience than God gave a fruit fly, which is shockingly rare in this sport. In related news, I’m excited for the Nets’ season, and the idea of a LeBronless Knicks fills me with… well, sad apathy really. Give me hope, and I will give you money for tickets.

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July 8, 2010 - Posted by | The Nets

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