The Remaining Big Men in Free Agency

The Nets still need a viable third big on their roster. As of now we have Humphries/Favors in the starting role, the other as a back-up and Johan Petro playing both PF & C. We might use Outlaw as a stretch four, but there needs to be size, rebounding and toughness next to Lopez. For depth purposes, we definitely need to sign another big, hopefully a savvy veteran that will play hard and mentor Favors. Here are the remaining PF's (I'm putting them in no particular order):


1) Joe Smith - A veteran that will rebound and hit the midrange jumper. He didn't play much last year & shot under 40% - looks like age has gotten the best of him. If we're ruling either Humph or Favors as our starter, Joe Smith as the third PF wouldn't be terrible. Wouldn't be anything special by any means, however.

2) Tim Thomas - An interesting candidate. Although he is 33, he had a solid season last year, averaging nearly 8 ppg in only 15 minutes of action. He still has great touch from outside, as he shot 36% from deep last season. Nets fans will always remember his loud and obnoxious rant against the "fugazy" Kenyon Martin during the playoffs (yeah, that was pretty pathetic), but he can still score with the best of 'em.

3) Louis Amundson - A classic workhorse that out-hustles everyone on the court. His offense is very limited, but he's a poor man's Joakim Noah, the type of player that every team needs. His energy and rebounding would be real nice next to Brook. He seems to have found his niche off the bench as a spark plug, so I'm not sure if he's a starting PF in that regard. If the Nets are going with Hump or Favors, Amundson would be a great addition to the bench. Phoenix will probably re-sign him, though.

4) Ike Diogu - Another interesting candidate. He's always been a great rebounder, but consistency is a huge issue. Some games he completely dominates the paint, others he simply withers away. For instance, he averaged over 20 points and 8 boards per game during the final five contests of the season, yet he only averaged 7 minutes a game during the 09/10 season (1.9 boards a game? Not good if your strong skill is supposed to be rebounding). He has also bounced around the league quite a bit already. If he comes at a complete bargain, say the veterans minimum, he'd be a solid back-up for the back-up. And who knows, maybe you take a chance on the kid (like we did with Hump) and he starts to really improve. Just some wishful thinking...

5) Etan Thomas - My personal favorite at this point. He can play both center and PF, he's a model citizen/great influence in the locker room & will really bust his butt on the floor. He'd also come pretty cheap, most likely at the vet's minimum. Even if he started and played only 10 minutes a game, that would leave 38 minutes for Favors & Humphries - I think 20 minutes or so for Favors is perfect early on. He's nearing his mid 30's, so you never know when Father Time will suddenly cast a spell on him, but he's the type of role model and influence that would help Favors develop on and off the court. His size and muscle would be nice for the interior.

6) Anthony Tolliver - A really solid, emerging big man that surprised people out in Golden State last year. He'd be a great pickup, but I think GS will resign him.

7) Earl Barron - The Knicks just got Turiaf & the big Russian dude, so Barron looks expendable. He's more of a center (7 foot, 250 lbs), so it might be a stretch to sign him. When given the chance, however, he played well (11 ppg, 11 rpg last season with NYK). Don't know if he can really play PF though, as he's a slower big man, so I don't think we'll look into his services.

There are some more names out there that I doubt we'll look into - Oleksiy Pecherov, Shavlik Randolph, Jarron Collins (twin!), Malik Allen (not again!), our very own Josh Boone (AIIIIR-BAAALLL), Primoz Brezec, Brian Cardinal, Francisco Elson, Adonal Foyle (he's still in the league?!), DJ Mbenga, Fabricio Oberto (maybe?), and our beloved Brian Scalabrine - yeah, those don't seem so likely.

All in all, I think we should be patient and see what Favors can do. There might be some growing pains, but it could all be worth it in the long run. It would have been flashy to sign Amar'e, Boozer or Lee, but we would have dropped too much cash for any of them, which would have ruined our long-term flexibility. Would you want a 32 year old Boozer making 20 million dollars a couple years down the line? Each player also comes with a red flag - none play good post defense, period. Lee's energy is a perfect match for the Nets, but his terrible post defense would simultaneously hurt us. We need that solid defense next to Lopez - Brook is a nice rebounder and shot blocker, but his one-on-one post D has been suspect at times. I always think of Pat Ewing & Charles Oakley/Anthony Mason or Rik Smits & Dale/Antonio Davis. While the flashy centers scored on the low block, the gritty power forward's did all of the dirty work. That formula helped both the Knicks and Pacers go far into the playoffs year in and year out. Favors has the ability to be that type of player, and a whooole lot more, so I think this is the right move for the long term.  Our veteran coaching staff will get the best out of the young fella.

Whoops, sorry for that long tangent. Let me know which remaining big man makes the most sense for our Nets. If I forgot anyone, or if any of these players have signed, I apologize in advance! LET'S GO NETS!!

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