Which version of Landry Fields will show up in Toronto should he sign on July 11?
The HQ breaks down the Landry Fields situation and...of course talks a little about Steve Nash.
It seems fans aren't quite sure what to think about Landry Fields.
We asked yesterday for readers' takes on the free-agent contract offer the Raptors have extended, and the results were quite mixed.
32 per cent loved the move, whereas the next biggest percentage, 26 per cent, liked it only if it resulted in landing Steve Nash. The rest was a mixture of being ok with the move and absolutely hating it, with a bid of indifference (six per cent) thrown in for good measure.
I think the bottom line is that we'll have to see how this Nash situation plays out before we get a really good sense of how fans view the move.
As I noted yesterday, I love this potential acquisition, not just as a chess-move aimed at crushing the New York Knicks' sign-and-trade plans for Mr. Nash, but also in terms of the benefits of adding a player like Fields. As a rookie, the Stanford product was named to the NBA's "All-Rookie First Team." He averaged 10 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal as a bit of a do-it-all player for New York, and was one of the league's elite rebounding guards.
However last season, with Melo, Amar'e and co. firmly entrenched in an iso-system around him, Fields' production did indeed fall off a cliff. Dan Devine from Yahoo! Sports articulates this drop perfectly:
All of Fields' shooting percentages declined in his second year in the league, including woeful marks of 25.6 percent from 3-point range and 56.2 percent from the foul line, along with his Player Efficiency Rating and rebound rates - most notably his defensive rebound rate, which was elite among guards and was a huge part of what made the 6-foot-7 Fields so valuable in the Knicks backcourt. He used more Knick possessions in his second year, but posted a lower per-minute scoring output and turned the ball over more frequently.
The article goes on to detail various other woes in terms of Field's defence so for sure, the idea of potentially paying Fields nearly $20M (even if it is only averaged out as $6.3M per year as a cap hit on the Raptors) isn't very palatable at first glance.
However there's two sides to every story and if that's the "heads" side of the coin, RaptorsRepublic's Tom Liston brings the heat for the "tails." He points out that a lot of Fields' offensive malaise could indeed be attributed to his surroundings as "Last year, NYK had the 4th highest turnover rate and was ranked 22nd in % of field goals assisted on."
No, not exactly the most conducive environment for a player like Fields.
In addition, while I don't think Fields returns to being a 39 per cent three-point shooter like he was in his rookie season, I also don't think he's a career 25 per cent guy. His numbers from Stanford suggest in the 33 per cent range, solid if not spectacular, but a much better option than DeMar DeRozan's 21 per cent.
And wait, he wouldn't even have to play the 2! Fields played nearly half his time last season (and half if you go back a year) at small forward for the Knicks and when doing so, the club had a better win percentage.
The final point about this potential move that I don't think has been discussed enough relates back to Mr. DeRozan actually. DeMar is heading into the final guaranteed season of his current contract and eligible for a new deal in 2013/14. Think he's going to ask for more than $6.3M, considering the recent requests made by others in his draft class like Jrue Holiday? As many know, I'm not a big believer in DeMar DeRozan's upside so I'd much rather pay a "do-it-all" guy like Fields $6.3 than DeMar the same down the road. Fields serves as an excellent back-up plan if indeed DeMar prices himself out of the Raptors' plans, and best case scenario? He and Ross push DeRozan to another level this year making him worth the bigger contract that he'll likely be seeking.
And of course this all comes back to Nash. We've written about Bryan Colangelo as a poker player in the past, but the National Post's Bruce Arthur knocks it out of the park in saying that this Fields move further signifies just how "all in" Colangelo is on Nash.
And yet, is it not a bit concerning that we still don't have an answer from Steve?
This was the player that apparently wanted to wrap the process up asap and yet it's nearly halfway through day four and...
Sportsnet.ca's Michael Grange discusses this in his post this morning and it's admittedly concerning. We get that Nash wanted to see what his options were but after the Raptors' play for Fields wasn't Toronto the only real option, especially after the Mavs struck out on Deron Wiliams and the Nets, well, they kept D-Will? You almost get the feeling as Grange says, that Toronto is nothing more than a "well-padded fall-back position" for Nash, and that's not good.
It's not good on a number of levels ranging from next year's on-court success to what that silently says about the team and management situation here, and everything in between. In many ways losing out on Nash, or having him drag this process out until every last option has been removed (apparently the Lakers are now trying to enter the Steve Nash sweepstakes and wait, the Knicks sign-and-trade hopes aren't quite dead!) would be worse than had the Raptors simply stood pat and looked to go after cheaper, smaller-name free-agent fish.
That last paragraph likely requires a complete blog post to really get into but suffice to say that a big part of the Raptors' immediate future is resting on the shoulders of Mr. Nash. If he comes to town, suddenly a number of extraneous moves begin to look really appetizing and at least in the short term, there's excitement in Raptorland.
Should he not, well...
Let's just say you start to empathize a bit with the 26 per cent in our survey.