Training camp is nearly upon us and the season is just 8 weeks away (hooray!). The Blazers have 15 players under contract (if you count Nicholson), but chances are we may end up with an open roster spot or two in the next couple weeks (stretch Nicholson, waive PatCon, blockbuster consolidation trade, etc.).
IF we end up with open spots, who's out there and who makes sense for our team? Here are my assumptions / stipulations:
1) Dame, CJ, Nurk, Swanigan, Collins are untouchable.
2) Nicholson's getting stretched / traded
3) At present, we want upgrades at: Starting PF, starting SF, back-up SG
4) Team needs: Wing defense, rim protection, 3-pt shooting, veterans
5) We will be over the salary cap to start the season
If you buy #'s 1-5 above, then here are the FAs out there that we could get / should consider pursuing:
Tony Allen - Veteran back-up SG, great wing defense
Defends our opponent's best bench scorer on the wing, mentors everyone on our team not named Al-farouq in defense, instills work ethic in the youngsters. Occasionally has to shoot the ball and we all cringe.
Randy Foye - Veteran back-up SG with okay 3-pt shooting / passing
If PatCon gets traded away, Foye can step in and produce at his level with more veteran savvy and poise. Plus, he's a decent passer (2-3 ast / game @ 20 min per game).
Gerald Green - Veteran back up SG/SF, good 3-pt shooting, okay wing defense
Can play 2 or 3 for us off the bench, hit buckets, stretch the floor, and isn't a liability on defense. Plus, highlight dunks are fun.
Anthony Morrow - Veteran back-up SG/SF, good 3-pt shooting, okay wing defense
Stick him in the corner and let the 3-pointers rain (41.7% from the corner last year). Known as a good locker room presence and serviceable guarding the wing.
Brandon Rush - Veteran back-up SG, great 3-pt shooting, bad defense
B-Rush can still drop all the 3's. But, his defensive rating is pretty awful in the last couple of years (didn't he used to be a good defender?). Won a championship with GSW, solid veteran presence.
Roy Hibbert - Veteran rim protection
Don't love the idea of Roy in our locker room given attitude issues, but he sure can block / alter shots. Can't really do anything else, but if we want someone to help mentor Collins on rim protection while he gets NBA ready AND deny all lay-up attempts by the opposing team's bench...in the words of Mike Rice, "he can do that to ya."
My take: Shoot for Morrow first, Tony Allen second, everyone else if we miss on those two.
Each of these players is likely to sign a vet minimum contract with *some* NBA team. If the Blazers end up with an empty spot, does one of these players intrigue you? Did I miss someone? Look forward to thoughts in the comments!