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Is Anyone Worth the Mid-Level?

Note: Wrote this before Bower's departure, but still applicable. Just more depressing.

We've got a backup big, and we've got a point guard insurance policy via our first two moves of free agency. The problem is, most other teams have been making their "big" moves first, instead of wrapping up loose ends. 

Travis Outlaw received 5 years and 35 million from New Jersey. Anthony Morrow signed a 3 year/$12 million offer sheet with the Nets. Tony Allen has agreed to 3 years/10 million with Memphis. J.J. Redick signed a 3 year/$20 million offer sheet with Chicago, which Orlando is expected to match by the end of the week. And while Memphis passed on giving Ronnie Brewer a qualifying offer, he's drawing interest from the Bulls and the Jazz. So all five guys I had listed in my top tier last week are essentially gone. 

That leaves second tier players, guys that aren't really worth the maximum New Orleans can offer.  Or are they?

Yeah, no, they aren't. The remaining options:

Ronnie Brewer

With Portland's (excessive?) offer out to Wesley Matthews, it's unlikely that Utah keeps him. In Brewer, they've got a cheap option, a player that knows the system, a guy that Deron Williams was sad to see leave. The fact that nobody has even made up a rumor linking the Hornets and Brewer is depressing. I think it's a long, long shot that we pick up Brewer, but a quick run down of his skill set anyway:


  • An extremely efficient scorer, up until last year, when he struggled through poor play and injury. Even so, he shot 49% from the field.
  • Doesn't have much range, but finishes well at the hoop and gets to the line often. In many ways, he'd be the perfect complement to the Luther Head signing.
  • Basketball Prospectus' metric doesn't love him on defense, but he has the tools to be a team's main perimeter defender.

Marquis Daniels

Here's a guy the Hornets supposedly have inquired about. Daniels' player splits are absolutely fascinating. In his first 3 years with Dallas, Daniels posted PER's of 20.1, 14.6, and 14.9. After being moved to Indiana, he proceeded to post figures of 11.6, 11.6, and 12.8. Clearly, he enjoyed the whole "being surrounded by talent" thing. While New Orleans isn't contending for a title this year, they certainly have high caliber guys in Paul, West, Thornton, and Collison to possibly revive Daniels' career. Some further thoughts:
  • He's extremely injury prone. I just found out that SBN player pages have complete injury histories- behold Daniels' page. Since entering the league in 2003, he's missed time due to the flu, a sore left ankle, an appendectomy, two neck injuries, a hamstring injury, a stomach ailment, left knee tendinitis, various "knee" injuries, a respiratory infection, a toe injury, a groin injury, a back injury, a wrist injury, and a concussion. 
  • He can't really shoot, and he takes way more threes than he should be taking. That actually appears to be one of the reasons he struggled in Indiana- expanding his range without really being good at it. He also has a tendency to turn the ball over.
  • Overall, any contract offer would have to be based on the hope that he can return to his previous form. Considering his age and injury history, Daniels is probably a guy I'd stay away from.

Mo Evans

I've heard absolutely nothing about Evans for weeks now. Originally brought in to help offset the loss of Josh Childress to Europe, Mo has a player option for 2010-2011 with Atlanta. With Childress officially leaving the Hawks this week, I'd imagine Evans' role would remain the same in Atlanta if he chooses to stay. 
  • He'll be 32 this year. By no means will he be a popular final pick-up.. if New Orleans signs him, expect a ton of "this wasn't what Chris Paul was looking for" stories.
  • That said, he's incredibly efficient. Evans has a career 114 points/possession percentage. He's a good three point shooter, and he's good at converting from inside the arc, too. Toss in his adequate defensive ability and size, and it's clear he offers a great change of pace from Marcus Thornton

Shannon Brown

The L.A. Times reported yesterday that the Lakers will not pursue Shannon Brown this offseason. Brown brings awesome athleticism, and while I would've imagined his services to be expensive a week ago, the recent rates for guys like Tony Allen have been underwhelming. He'll be 25 in November, likely entering his "prime"
  • He's easily my favorite defender from this group of guys. Even though he's got the exact measurements of Marcus Thornton (6'4", 205), he plays a lot bigger on defense. He blocks shots, plays the passing lanes, and plays D without fouling (2.7 F/36 minutes last year).
  • He doesn't really have a shot, and he doesn't get to the line as much as a guy with his athletic ability should. 
  • I'd love to see what Monty Williams could do with Brown's physical tools.
If I had to rank these four guys, I'd go Brewer, Brown, Evans, and Daniels, assuming they all sign similar contracts. There's an argument to be made for Daniels over Evans, and likely one for Brown over Brewer. It's unclear what Utah will offer Brewer, but I highly doubt they'll go up the $5 million/yr we can offer (Songaila's contract). And if we don't get one of these four? The next tier would include guys like Rasual Butler, Ronald Murray, and Willie Green