Willie Reed was seemingly set to make the Nets final roster before he tore the ulnar ligament in his right thumb. Now, the 6'10" big man from St. Louis isn't so sure. Out for another five to seven weeks, he could get dumped at the last minute so the Nets have more than three big men available on Wednesday.
In one roster permutation, he gets cut and Justin Harper, the only Net to play in all six preseason games, would make the club. More of a stretch 4 than a center, like Reed, Harper would give Lionel Hollins a bit of insurance with Reed and Chris McCullough (ACL) down and Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) uncertain.
"I’m praying every day and trying to do my part," said Reed. "All I’m trying to do is go out here and support my teammates and do everything I can, and hope that what I’ve done here in the past is enough."
Reed already has a $500,000 partial guarantee and will be fully guaranteed by Monday at 5 p.m. if still on the team. If his injury were season-ending he'd get the full vets minimum of $947,276, no questions. The difference between him and Harper would be about a hundred thousand dollars. Harper would make $845,059. Hollins admitted if Reed was healthy, he and Billy King wouldn't be faced with such a tough decision.
"We’ve got a few days to see," Hollins said, "and it puts us in a position of having to delay a decision or change a decision we may not have made if [Reed] was healthy."
One possible saving grace for Reed --and quite possibly the determining factor-- is Bargnani's improving health. Tim Bontemps reports Bargnani practiced fully Friday, but there was no contact during practice. It’s unclear if he would have participated in any scrimmaging if there had been contact. If he's ready, that would lessen the pressure on Hollins and King.
Meanwhile, Jarrett Jack sat out Friday's practice, like Bargnani with a hamstring. Shane Larkin filled in. He thinks the team will be fine with him or Jack running the show.
"[S]o, so whatever coach feels is necessary for us to win, whether Jack with in the game, me in the game, Donald [Sloan] in the game -- whoever he wants in the game, just to go in there and play and win." said Larkin.
Speaking of point guards, the Pistons signed Ryan Boatright on Friday after he cleared waivers. They are expected to cut him on Monday. But under D-League rules, the Pistons Grand Rapids affiliate will get his D-League rights and Boatright will likely become a Detroit farmhand. With no D-League affiliate of its own this season, that option was not open to the Nets.
- Sidelined Willie Reed only can hope and pray for Nets roster spot - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Shane Larkin ready to take Nets' point as backup or starter - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets point guards motivated - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Detroit Pistons sign rookie guard Ryan Boatright - Aaron McMann - MLive