Let us all rejoice, as the NBA season can finally continue on like the play above.
The above link is the list of free-agents for 2011-12 season. The Notables. It’s difficult to know who the Raptors might want to target given that they don’t really have an identity right now (possible upcoming article). Therefore, I am going to give my perspective based on what I think would be best for the club and that is to target a true center. I don’t think Andrea is that true center and having him play the 4 position might give potential gains. Without furhter ado, I present the the notable centers for the next season and why to target them.
Tyson Chandler – On top of my list. He is currently earning $12.75 million a year and he is in contract year. Now, I know that players play better during their contract year, so his current performance might be representative of his actual production. Still, he is having a career year in Dallas and he is anchoring the Dallas defense, which is currently 6th best in the league in terms of points allowed per game.
He could play a key role for the Raptors from a defensive stand-point should they consider to go in that direction. The departure of Larry Brown was partly due to the Bobcats trading Chandler away.
He has also improved his free-throwing shooting, is great at setting picks and you could throw it to him in the post from time to time (not too often). However, more importantly is to realize his production has been dictated by the strength of his PGs. Chris Paul and now Jason Kidd are arguably the best in the league and they have been feeding him buckets. Now, if Calderon is able to replicate the chemistry with Chandler, it would open up the rest of the floor for Andrea and DeMar to either shoot or attack the basket. MOST IMPORTANTLY, he will allow Bargnani to never ever grab a rebound.
He is only 28 right now. So if there was an offer for 4 years or 5 years, he would be 32 or 33. As importantly, he could serve as a model for Ed Davis, who could carve out a similar role, although Davis seems to have more offensive game than Chandler.
Probability – Not likely. Why? When have the Raptors have ever had a legit center in their franchise history. Keon Clark, Rasho Nesterovic, Hakeem (with bad knees), Oliver Miller, Antonio Davis don’t count.
Nene – King Cy’s favorite player and overall solider and cancer survivor. He is making around $11.3 million this season. What is good about him? Nene is very efficient and is very good around the basket. His post ups are pretty good (CY might say they are amazing) and he can really run and he dunks everything around the rim. He is also having a very good season. He has a bit more range to his game and can step out to the 10 – 15 foot. How consistent? I am not quite sure (might require some further analysis). Nene has never played anywhere else but Denver and it is hard to predict how he would perform under new coaches and with different offenses. However, he seems like a smart guy, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Same as Tyson, he is also 28 right now. A 5-6 year contract might be what is looking for.
Probability – He might also be in win-now mode and might now want to consider the Raptors, who are still the rebuilding phase.
Yao Ming – It seems like there are a million Chinese people in Toronto (no racist) and he could be a marketing tool. Besides, this marketing fact, he was a really talented center and it is sad to consider how much injuries have decimated his once promising career. I am pretty sure all teams are afraid of his injuries and if you give him a big contact, it might be difficult to get an insurance on his contact.
Raptors could still take a risk and get significant gains. If Yao has the capability to be his former self, he is worth it because a team can still be built around him.
Probability – He has stated that he is loyal to Rockets because they gave him a chance and he owes it to them. It is good to know their are loyal people like that given the business aspect of the NBA. So, no chance for the Raptors.
Kinda grim so far, but Part II is coming soon.