There's more than Nick Young's contract question looming on the free agency front. Due to mild panic on that score, we've yet to really start discussion on it. Al Thornton was recently jettisoned to lighten the load but the ship remains heavy, though somewhat stabilized, at SF. We'll count Cartier Martin at SF, even though if I have him on the floor, it's behind Nick Young and Jordan Crawford at SG. Some have suggested we'll be taking a PG late in the draft, and I agree. We've got all the young frontcourt talent we can develop, and Martin versus Mustafa Shakur should become a battle to be the 15th Warrior sans flesh eating cannibals not named Gerald Wallace. Our lottery pick right now figures on about a 50/50 shot at one of the prime SF prospects which would settle things rather quickly between those two.
If you decide you have to include Young Sushi as a SF, that makes it a six way competition between Rashard Lewis, Maurice Evans, Josh Howard, Nick Young, our lottery pick/Cartier Martin, and Trevor Booker. For cleanliness' sake, take out Booker until he develops that mid-range jumpshot we're all looking for, and Nick will likely only see spot minutes in the event of injuries. That makes it a four way tug-of-war, which is at least one player too many, which likely comes down to a decision between re-signing Maurice Evans or Josh Howard.
There are a couple ways to look at this situation. First is that there is a veritable smorgasboard of SF on the table in the offseason. From the bumper crop in the lottery to dependable veterans such as Tayshaun Prince and Shane Battier, we can bet on a depressed market for free-agent small forwards, and we'll ideally have first shot at getting our guy. Advantage: Wizards
Second is veteran leadership. Still too soon to measure Mo's impact in this respect. However, aside from Josh's blog entries, there hasn't seemed to be much tangible effect from the Dallas veteran, either. He does seem to be trying. Advantage: Josh Howard
Third is their level of play while remaining conducive to player development. Not hard to see where I'm going here. It's hard to tell if Howard's frustrated or not, he's too much of a veteran with too fragile an image to risk becoming a malcontent after becoming a distraction to the Mavericks. While we haven't seen very much of him, he has shown an increased tendency to jack shots, perhaps in a Kirk Hinrich-esque attempt to inflate his value to a contender. He hasn't been successful in either respect, and if someone's jacking shots, I want Nick Young on the case. We were really hoping that habit was behind him, as his unpredictableness is what made him an All-Star in Dallas. Meanwhile, Evans has been exemplary as a complementary player doing all the little things, even if his shot isn't falling from beyond the arc as consistently as we might hope. Advantage: Maurice Evans
Fourth is durability. Howard is still a question mark, while Evans is diving after loose balls like a stoner who just sighted a bakery. Advantage: Maurice Evans
As much as I liked Kirk Hinrich, he was more of an alpha dog, and while also a consummate professional, there's little question he's happier on a contender. Josh Howard went where the money was last year, but having shown little productivity and few to less than few flashes of the game that once had him earning over $10 million a year, it's hard to imagine Grunny offering much more than the veteran minimum. And if the Heat are successful in dumping Mike Miller (ahahahaha), then there's little doubt in my mind where Josh would go. That leaves Mo, but in my mind there is little question he's the dependable veteran we're looking for.
Rashard will split time between SF and PF while recovering from surgery, and even with a lottery pick at SF, there will be minutes for Mo. Having already been a backup, he's used to coming off the bench with high energy and shooting the three ball. Out of our second or third SF, what else do we really need?
Chatting with Mike last night, he brought up the BOYD angle (i.e. acquire a contract with our open cap space in exchange for also taking on additional assets), which I feel ridiculous for overlooking. In my defense, I figured the new CBA would preclude such a maneuver while ignoring how far our projected roster would be leaving us below the cap. If we feel Mo Evans doesn't bring anything special to the table, then BOYD makes a lot of sense. With a plethora of prospects in the front court why not look at a young player who could drift between the 2 and 3 without stretching credulity while netting a serviceable 3? 'Come with me, my friend. I haf nu Emir Preldzic, is best in show, real cowboy Yankee!'
That said, it's a wide world out there, Charlie Brown, which option do you like?