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Numbers Game: Nets bring in Wallace

Scott Cullen
3/15/2012 4:59:31 PM
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Trying to convince point guard Deron Williams that they can build a winner, the New Jersey Nets paid a steep price to get a veteran forward from Portland.

Numbers Game looks at the Nets' acquisition of Gerald Wallace.

The Nets Get: SF Gerald Wallace.

Wallace, 29, is a versatile forward who has rare stat-stuffing abilities. Since the start of the 2005-2006 season, only four players have averaged at least 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game, Wallace, Elton Brand, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard.

At 6-foot-9, Wallace is capable of playing both forward spots and his energy and length make him an effective defender. While Wallace's offensive contribution (13.3 points per game) is down a little this season, he remains an effective defender and could get more touches on the offensive end with the Nets. 

Wallace can move right into the starting lineup, ahead of swingman Anthony Morrow, adding more size and defensive presence to the Nets' front line.

Making $10.65-million this season, with a player option for a little more than $11.4-million next season, Wallace may not be in for anything more than an audition for next season. Even with a down season, it's hard to imagine that Wallace wouldn't want to take a run at free agency. Maybe Wallace will want to sign with the Nets and, given the price they are paying, the Nets had better get him locked up.

The Trail Blazers Get: C Mehmet Okur, SF Shawne Williams and a first-round pick (top three protected).

A 32-year-old centre, Okur is currently sidelined by a back injury. He had some good years with Utah, but has shown his age in recent seasons, shooting 36.8% from the field over the last two seasons. At this stage of his career, he's not an offensive threat and gets abused on the defensive end, so he's not vital to this deal for his playing ability.

He does have an expiring contract that pays him $10.89-million this season, so he does provide balance for the salaries in the deal.

Williams, 26, is an energy forward off the bench who has been out for the last month with a foot injury. He was more effective last season, when he shot 40.1% from three-point range for the Knicks, but this year Williams is hitting a miserable 24.1% from beyond the arc and his offensive struggles limit his appeal.

Since Williams has a player option for $3-million next season, he may get a look with the Blazers' at some point, but he's a fringe rotation player who could just as easily be bought out of his contract.

The most valuable chip in this deal, though is the Nets' first-round pick, which is Top Three protected. That pick is currently slotted as the fourth pick in the draft, which would give the Blazers opportunities to address a need at centre (Andre Drummond, Connecticut) or find a wing (Harrison Barnes, North Carolina; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky) to make up for the loss of Wallace.

In the meantime, Nicolas Batum will be a solid addition to the Blazers starting lineup at small forward.

The upside of this pick is outstanding value for Portland. Even if Wallace signs a long-term deal in New Jersey, the Blazers are likely to land one of the top draft prospects in return.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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