Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"Free" Agents?

A greater misnomer never existed. Free agents are remarkably expensive. Can the Rockets afford any? The short answer is yes, within reason.

GM Daryl Morey has a mid-level exception to work with (about $6 mil), but they need to use some of that to re-sign Carl Landry. So let's face it, Gilbert Arenas, Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala are out of the question. Corey Maggette is a long-shot, but I am not a fan of signing the best man on a losing team, especially the Clippers. Case in point: Maurice Taylor. It took the Rockets years to dump his over-priced salary.

There are a few players that could contribute that might be persuaded by what the Rockets can offer. Brent Barry is on the top of their list. He is smart, he shoots a high percentage from everywhere and he plays shooting guard/small forward, a position at which the Rockets could use a good backup. Besides, it's an NBA tradition that anybody named Barry must end his career in Houston.

James Posey might fit the bill, too. In a perfect world, the backup players would match the skills of the starters at the same position. That would make Posey a perfect choice to play behind Shane Battier. But that only works in theory. It's hard to tailor a team that perfectly in real life, so a mix of skills is usually preferable. Regardless, Posey is a fine hard-nosed player that knows how to win. I was sorry to see the Rockets lose him after the 2002-03 season.

Mickael Pietrus is available, but his productivity declined significantly last year. Robert Horry might be amenable, but he's over the hill. DeSagana Diop is a young Dikembe at best, one dimensional and probably priced too high for consideration anyway. Bostjan Nachbar... forget I mentioned him.

My choice? Brent Barry. Smart players make everyone around them better.

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