What's buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Ball Don't Lie

Free-agent roundup: Lakers, Rockets, Hornets turn to Plan B; OKC lands Morrow; Mavs nab Jefferson; etc.

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie
Lillard leads Blazers to 124-112 win over Lakers
.

View photo

Los Angeles Lakers forward Nick Young dribbles behind his back as Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. The Trail Blazers won 124-112. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

After LeBron James announced his choice to head back to Ohio on Friday afternoon, the free-agent dam burst, with plenty of players and teams whose activities were on hold while waiting for LeBron's move getting back to work and coming to terms in the hours thereafter and over the course of the weekend. We have already touched on some; let's dig into some more now, starting in Los Angeles.

***

• The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to bring back a pair of their own free agents, forward/center Jordan Hill and guard Nick Young, the inimitable (although I suppose that's not exactly true) shot artist known as "Swaggy P." (I guess the billboard campaign worked.)

The 6-foot-10-inch, 235-pound Hill got a two-year, $18 million contract with a team option for Year 2, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski. After playing the 2013-14 season for the veteran's minimum of just over $1.1 million, Swaggy receives a rich reward for leading the woeful Lakers in scoring — a four-year pact worth $21.5 million, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Young's got a player option for the final year, allowing him to opt out and test free agency following the 2016-17 season, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. (Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com had the first word of Young's agreement.)

These moves came on the heels of the Lakers' Friday trade importing Jeremy Lin, plus first- and second-round picks in the 2015 NBA draft, from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the rights to Ukrainian center Sergei Lishouk, cash considerations and the commitment to cover the 2014-15 balloon payment that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey built into the offer sheet that Lin signed back in the summer of 2012. (The New York Knicks declined to match Lin's sheet in part because of that wrinkle, which earns him a $15 million cash payout for the year ahead, even though he only counts for $8,374,646 against the salary cap.)

As many Lakers fans and league observers noted, this represented Plan B for Mitch Kupchak and the Busses, after Los Angeles' attempt to woo free-agent scorer Carmelo Anthony proved unsuccessful. It lacks the panache and impact of adding a seven-time All-Star, but Mitch Kupchak did manage to fill up three roster spots with likely starters for roughly the same amount 'Melo will make next year. For a Lakers team that entered Friday with only three players (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre) under guaranteed contract for the year ahead, plus a pair of rookies (Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson) and a couple of not-yet-firm commitments (the unguaranteed deal of point guard Kendall Marshall, the qualifying offer to 2013 draftee Ryan Kelly) on the books, that's something, at least.

View gallery

.
Jordan Hill got paaaaaaaid. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

Jordan Hill got paaaaaaaid. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

If your jaw dropped upon learning that Hill was going to earn $9 million a year, you weren't alone; it seems an awful steep price to pay for a big man who has never played more than 72 games in a season, who has made just 52 starts in five pro seasons, and who has scarcely served as more than an off-the-bench bruiser during his stints with the Knicks, Rockets and Lakers. You can see the case for making a bet on Hill, though. He's been a per-minute monster in Los Angeles, averaging 15.6 and 12.7 rebounds per 36 minutes of floor time over the past three seasons, posting strong rebounding rates on both ends of the floor and a well-above-average Player Efficiency Rating; last year, in fact, he ranked 11th in PER among power forwards, according to ESPN.com's numbers, nestled between Serge Ibaka and David Lee.

Given the most significant and consistent floor time of his career, Hill shot a career-best 54.9 percent from the field with an increased assist rate and a decreased turnover rate, while outproducing his opposition at both the four and five spots. He's mostly an indoor cat, with 80 percent of his shots coming inside the paint last season, but he's got a decent-enough stroke for a big man (67.9 percent from the foul line as a pro) and he did knock down a career-best 42.7 percent of his midrange attempts last year; it's possible that, with more work and opportunity, he could develop a passable 15-footer. The second-year option allows the Lakers to walk away after a season if a larger role doesn't suit Hill, or perhaps present him as a short-term trade-deadline rental for a contending squad in need of a young rotation big to bolster a playoff push. If he sticks, the deal concludes at the same time as Kobe's monster extension, so it doesn't hamstring the Lakers' flexibility heading into the all-important summer of 2016.

Swaggy's deal, though, will extend through the end of the 2017-18 campaign (unless he exercises that Year 3 player option, of course) at an average annual value of $5.375 million, a shade above the non-taxpayer's midlevel exception. It's not exactly a cap-wrecker — over at Basketball Insiders, Eric Pincus projects Young's deal as starting at $4.83 million, then escalating with year-over-year raises until coming in at just south of $6 million for '17-'18, and at the moment, he and Randle are the only Lakers on the books past the summer of '16 — but it doesn't seem like the best idea to pay Young, a fairly one-dimensional (if often hilarious) sort, roughly the league average to jack jumpers and do not much else until he's 33.

On a rudderless, going-nowhere Lakers team, Young had a near-limitless leash to launch. He took full advantage, hoisting nearly 18 shots per 36 minutes of floor time, including seven 3-pointers per-36. To his credit, he was pretty effective, ranking as one of the league's top off-the-bench scorers with his career-best 17.9 points per game, shooting a strong 38.6 percent from deep, and tempering those jumpers with forays into the paint, posting the best free-throw rate of his career.

If Young's your starting small forward, your team's unlikely to go anywhere of note, but A) the next couple of Lakers teams were unlikely to do that anyway and B) MLE-ballpark salaries can be handy ballast in trades. His shot selection will always make coaches reach for the Mylanta, and his defense will make them want to chase it with Maker's, but he's capable of tilting games with his scoring touch, he's a Los Angeles native who genuinely seems to want to wear the purple and gold and, if nothing else, he's entertaining.

The Lakers could finagle their way into enough salary-cap space for another noteworthy addition, but it seems unlikely that they'll do so; as Kupchak said after Anthony re-upped in New York, “There’s only so much that’s left on the board … so we’ll look to fill out our roster with players from our roster from last year and then also from the board.” With L.A. keeping its powder dry until next summer, or possibly the one after that, whoever winds up coaching this year's model of the Lakers — read: probably Byron Scott, although the L.A. brass really doesn't seem too thrilled at that prospect — will need somebody to sop up wing minutes, reduce the burden on a returning-from-two-devastating-leg-injuries Kobe, space the floor and provide offensive firepower. Lakers Nation turns its lonely eyes to you, Swaggy. Give 'em a show.

***

• The Rockets continued their attempts to bounce back after their seemingly disastrous whiff on Chris Bosh (who re-upped with the Heat) and their choice not to bring back starter Chandler Parsons (who'll join the Dallas Mavericks) with a trio of add-to-the-depth-chart moves, bringing back young shooter Troy Daniels and agreeing to terms with a pair of interior bruisers in Joey Dorsey and Jeff Adrien.

Daniels, who turned 23 on Tuesday, receives a fully guaranteed two-year, $2 million deal, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Dorsey, who played for the Rockets in the 2008-09 and '09-'10 seasons, will also receive a two-year, $2 million, according to Wojnarowski. Adrien will receive a one-year, veteran's minimum contract to join his fifth NBA team in five seasons, according to both Feigen and Woj.

The 6-foot-9, 275-pound Dorsey, a second-round pick out of Memphis in 2008, last played in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in the 2010-11 season. He's spent the last three seasons overseas, plying his trade as a defensive-minded big man in Spain, Greece and Turkey; he was voted the best defender in the Greek League in 2012 for his work with Euroleague champion Olympiacos, which Rockets general manager Daryl Morey referenced during an NBA draft-related chat last month, according to Feigen. Most recently, Dorsey manned the middle for FC Barcelona, averaging 5.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 combined blocks/steals in 15.4 minutes per game. He'll be expected to help replace the off-the-bench paint-patrolling and rebounding Houston lost when Morey dealt center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans last month.

Ditto for Adrien, an undersized (6-foot-7, 245 pounds) power forward who went undrafted out of UConn in 2009 and has had stints with the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks, as well as a number of international clubs, including Italy's Benetton Traviso and Russia's BC Khimki. He split last season between the Bobcats and Bucks, to whom he was shipped as part of a trade deadline deal that landed Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour in Charlotte; he found playing time and a niche with the woeful Bucks, averaging 10.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game.

View gallery

.
Troy Daniels shoots. That's what he does. (Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports)

Troy Daniels shoots. That's what he does. (Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports)

He's always been an aggressive rebounder on both ends, averaging nearly 11 boards per 36 minutes of floor time for his career, and an energetic frontcourt defender who works to make up for what he lacks in size with effort and intensity. On a Rockets team that has had more trouble stopping people than scoring over the past two seasons, and saw its title hopes dashed last season thanks in part to having nobody capable of getting in LaMarcus Aldridge's kitchen in Games 1 and 2 of the first round, adding a pair of tough, physical interior defenders makes quite a bit of sense.

As for Daniels ... well, he's a shooter, and the Rockets love shooting. The VCU product pouring in 21.5 points per game for the Rockets' D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, last season, due largely to his capacity to drill a metric ton of deep jumpers at a 40 percent clip. Afforded the opportunity to test his wares at the NBA level, Daniels went 20-for-40 from long distance in nine games, including one very memorable game-winner in the postseason.

He'll have his work cut out for him in earning rotation minutes as an undersized two, with All-Star James Harden already getting the lion's share of minutes at shooting guard and rookie Nick Johnson already turning heads in Summer League, but shooting gets a chance to fail — a statement perhaps truer with the efficiency-loving Rockets than anywhere else — and Morey has cheaply retained a young sniper who would figure to have some value both in Houston and elsewhere.

***

• After coming up short on their top free-agent priority when the Utah Jazz matched their maximum-salaried offer sheet for restricted free-agent forward Gordon Hayward, the Charlotte Hornets moved to fill a pair of roster spots, agreeing to terms with Hayward's former Jazz teammate, forward Marvin Williams, and point guard Brian Roberts, late of the Pelicans. Williams will receive a two-year, $14 million contract, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Marc J. Spears, while Roberts nets a $5.5 million deal over the same two-year span, according to Wojnarowski.

Williams will be expected to step into the power forward slot formerly occupied by, and help replace the productivity of, the departed Josh McRoberts, who received a four-year, $22.65 million deal to join the Heat, and he'll be paid handsomely to do so. Like, really handsomely.

View gallery

.
Go ahead and smile, Marvdawg. (Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Go ahead and smile, Marvdawg. (Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Even in a player's market, $7 million feels like an awful lot of money for the 28-year-old Williams, who is understandably sick of being reminded that the Atlanta Hawks should've chosen Chris Paul instead of him, but hasn't done a whole lot in nine pro seasons to make folks think about much else when his name comes up. The 6-foot-9-inch forward is a thoroughly roundabout-league-average dude; a perpetual 13-points-and-six-rebounds-and-five-yawns-per-36-minutes machine; a big, lean and strong athlete who just sort of refuses to wow you.

His just-about-average 3-point shooting — 35.9 percent from deep last season, helping boost a below-par 33.5 percent mark for his career — helped him slot in as a stretch four in Utah, with since-ousted coach Tyrone Corbin looking to Williams as a credible-enough shooter to open up the floor for the Jazz's ball-handlers and interior players. It worked out all right. Utah averaged 105.7 points per 100 possessions, equivalent to a No. 10-ranked offense, when Wiliams paired with big man Derrick Favors last year, according to NBA.com's stat tool. (They got roasted on the other end to the tune of 109 points-per-100 allowed, but that was par for the course no matter which Jazzmen shared the floor, as Utah finished dead last in defensive efficiency in 2013-14.)

You can envision Hornets head coach Steve Clifford looking to Williams to provide similar spacing alongside low-post monster Al Jefferson, although that pairing didn't fare so hot back in Salt Lake City. Lineups featuring Big Al and Marvdawg scored just 99.7 points-per-100 during the 2012-13 season, Williams' first in Utah after being swapped for Devin Harris and Jefferson's last before heading to Charlotte in free agency. To be fair, Williams spent the majority of his time at the three back then, so things could work out better now that he's shifted up front, especially if he can keep up (or improve upon) that 36 percent mark from deep. Then again, Williams isn't anywhere near the passer or playmaker that McRoberts was during his time in North Carolina, which figures to dampen the Hornets' offense in the half court.

His length, mobility and positional versatility should fit nicely into Clifford's defensive scheme, and Jazz folks speak highly of his presence in the locker room, which could bode well for a Hornets squad whose evolution depends in part on the positive development of a quartet of young players — third-year man Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, rising sophomore Cody Zeller, and 2014 first-rounders Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston. In terms of on-court impact, though, it's difficult to see Williams providing $7 million worth of value for a Hornets team hoping to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

The 28-year-old Roberts, on the other hand, seems a safer bet to offer bang for his 2.75 million bucks.

After going undrafted out of Dayton in 2008, the former Bob Cousy Award finalist began his professional career overseas, playing in Israel and Germany before landing a one-year, minimum-salaried shot with the then-New Orleans Hornets. He provided a steady hand backing up Greivis Vasquez, turning in a 3.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio while knocking down 38.6 percent of his 3-pointers for Monty Williams' club. He parlayed that into a second one-year deal, again for the minimum, with the re-christened Pelicans, and while his per-minute numbers and long-range effectiveness dipped, they didn't do so too terribly considering he had to play a significantly larger role following the season-scuttling injury to starting point guard Jrue Holiday.

He's not a game-breaker, but he should prove to be a solid backup behind starter Kemba Walker with the potential to take on greater responsibilities in a pinch. He's a small, slight, comparatively poor defender, the fallout from which Clifford will likely aim to minimize with scheme and by pairing Roberts with long-armed perimeter defenders. He's not as accomplished a backup option as players like Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar, who each signed for the less costly bi-annual exception, but he's been a bit more durable over the past couple of years, and offers more floor-spacing than his predecessors as then-Bobcats backups, Ridnour and Ramon Sessions, which could pay dividends given all the attention that Jefferson tends to draw in the middle.

***

• The Oklahoma City Thunder added Anthony Morrow, signing the veteran sharpshooter to a three-year deal that "could pay [him] up to $10 million," according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. The Thunder will hold a team option for the third year, according to Spears. It's a near-tripling of the veteran's minimum deal Morrow got last summer to join the Pelicans — which, come to think of it, is somewhat fittng for a player as 3-dependent as Morrow — but it's also a more cost-effective deal than the ones handed out to fellow shooting wings like Jodie Meeks and Ben Gordon, and it could be a perfect marriage of opportunity and operator in Oklahoma.

View gallery

.
Anthony Morrow lines one up. (AP/Rick Bowmer)

Anthony Morrow lines one up. (AP/Rick Bowmer)

With Derek Fisher retiring and moving to the bench as the new head coach of the Knicks, and Caron Butler getting a two-year deal to join the Detroit Pistons, the Thunder lost two of their three most accurate 3-point shooters from last year's team, players who accounted for one-fifth of Oklahoma City's total long-range makes. And for as much (often deserved) stick as head coach Scott Brooks received for his reliance on those two veterans in his late-season rotation, their shooting prowess mattered. While an OKC offense led by reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant and All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook ranked seventh in the NBA in points scored per possession, the Thunder were pretty middling when it came to long-distance potency, ranking 16th among 30 NBA teams in the share of their points generated from beyond the arc, tied for 14th in long balls attempted, and finished 14th in both made triples and team 3-point accuracy.

When you've got offensive talents as devastating as Durant and Westbrook, you want to give them as much room as possible to operate. When you insist, as Brooks often does, on giving significant minutes to non-threatening offensive players like Kendrick Perkins, you need to try to generate as much space as you can elsewhere. Enter Morrow, a six-year veteran who shoots from long distance, and does so phenomenally well.

The 6-foot-6 Georgia Tech product boasts the third-highest 3-point accuracy mark among active players, and ranks No. 8 from long range in NBA history. The worst he's ever shot from deep is 37.1 percent, for the then-New Jersey Nets in 2011-12, and he shot a scorching 45.1 percent from beyond the arc last season in New Orleans, the third-best mark in the league behind Kyle Korver and Mike Miller. He's a marksman, pure and simple.

Morrow doesn't do anything else exceptionally well — he's a defensive liability without the strength to body up physical small forwards and the foot speed to credibly check quicker shooting guards, he doesn't offer his bigs very much help as a rebounder on the wing, and he's neither an off-the-dribble creator nor much of a passer. But he's a quick-release sniper who's lethal at chasing in off ball swings, drilling 44.1 percent of his catch-and-shoot triples last season, 12th-best in the league among players who got at least two such opportunities a game, according to SportVU.

Butler, a good-but-not-great 3-point shooter (33.9 percent for his career entering last season), feasted on the kinds of open looks he received after joining the Thunder last year, draining 39.6 percent of his spot-up tries from long distance, according to Synergy Sports Technology's game-charting data. Morrow, who hit 43.4 percent of his spot-up 3s on a substantially less dangerous Pelicans squad last year, must already be salivating about getting handed Butler's opportunities while sharing the floor with Durant, Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka. He'll basically be playing Pop-a-Shot, especially if Brooks stations him in the Butler/Fisher/Thabo Sefolosha spot in the short corners, where — as Blake Murphy of Nylon Calculus notes — Morrow's shot-making looks like a perfect tonic for something that's ailed Oklahoma City's offense.

The key, as it's been since Morrow first scratched his way into the lineup back in Jersey, will be whether he can hold up enough defensively to make it worth Brooks' while to keep him on the floor. He's struggled with that in his last three stops, averaging just 15.5 minutes per game under Larry Drew with the Atlanta Hawks, Rick Carlisle with the Dallas Mavericks and Monty Williams with the Pelicans. But with plenty of young, long-limbed, quick-footed and gifted defensive types on the roster, Brooks may be able to afford letting Morrow play designated hitter for stretches off the bench, and the Thunder offense could reap the benefits of unleashing Morrow's specific skill-set on defenses already stretched to their breaking point by Oklahoma City's talent elsewhere.

***

• The San Antonio Spurs got one step closer to bringing back the entire 2014 NBA championship team by agreeing to terms with free-agent forward Matt Bonner, as first reported by Ben Hunt. Bonner confirmed to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News that he will come back on a one-year deal for the 10-year veteran's minimum of just under $1.45 million, terming himself "super thrilled" to commit to a ninth season in San Antonio.

View gallery

.
Matt Bonner's feeling very emotional right now. (AP/David J. Phillip)

Matt Bonner's feeling very emotional right now. (AP/David J. Phillip)

Bonner, 34, saw his role reduced last season, logging just 826 total regular- and postseason minutes — his lowest workload since 2006-07, his first season in Texas — for a Spurs team that featured Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, stalwart starter Tiago Splitter, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and super-sub Boris Diaw in the frontcourt. The New Hampshire-born stretch four was ready when called upon, though, knocking down 42.9 percent of his 3-pointers, which would've been good for sixth place in the league had he played enough minutes to qualify, and marked the seventh time in 10 pro seasons that he hit more than 40 percent of his bombs. He even slid into the starting lineup in Games 5 and 6 of the Spurs' Western Conference finals win over the Thunder, when head coach Gregg Popovich elected to change his rotation and work to pull shot-blocking menace Ibaka out of the paint by calling on "The Red Mamba" from the opening tip.

As Jeff McDonald of the Express-News put it, Bonner's the perfect sort of end-of-the-bench signing — a veteran who knows the system, can contribute when called upon, can fill in spot minutes at multiple positions and won't complain about playing time. As Caleb Saenz wrote at Pounding the Rock, "Bonner excels in one thing without necessarily killing you anywhere else." He's also a pretty funny dude. Well worth the minimum, if you ask me.

Bringing back Bonner after re-signing Diaw and Patty Mills, and signing 2014 first-round draft pick Kyle Anderson, leaves San Antonio with one roster spot still open. They could still elect to bring back reserve center Aron Baynes — the Australian bruiser is a restricted free agent, giving the Spurs the right to match any offer tendered to him by another suitor — or pursue an upgrade elsewhere with their non-taxpayer's mid-level exception. For the most part, though, San Antonio's summer roster moves are likely near an end.

***

• The Mavericks replaced one former New Jersey Nets wing with another, agreeing to terms with veteran small forward Richard Jefferson after watching his former teammate, Vince Carter, depart for a three-year, $12 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Jefferson's contract will be significantly more cost-friendly for the Mavs, according to Wojnarowski: a one-year pact for the veteran's minimum of just under $1.5 million.

View gallery

.
Richard Jefferson gets another shot at being on a winner. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

Richard Jefferson gets another shot at being on a winner. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

There's a reason for the price difference, of course — as was the case back in Jersey, Jefferson's not quite in Carter's league in terms of pure talent or all-around ability to impact the game. But after landing Parsons to take on the lion's share of their minutes at the three, the Mavericks don't necessarily need an all-around replacement for Carter as much as they need some depth and additional perimeter shooting, and RJ may be able to provide both, cheaply.

Jefferson has shot league-average or better from deep in five of the last seven years, eclipsing the 40-percent mark in three of the last four seasons. He also bounced back from a dismal 2012-13 campaign for the Warriors by drilling 40.9 percent of his triples last year for the Jazz, appearing in all 82 games (including 78 starts) and averaging 10.1 points in 27 minutes per game for a Utah team that spent most of the season flirting with the worst record in the NBA.

Jefferson will likely have a drastically reduced role on a Mavericks team that has already Parsons and Jae Crowder in the mix at small forward, but if he can knock down the open 3s created off the attention drawn by the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Parsons, he could be effective in it. And with Dallas aiming to build off last year's playoff berth by nudging north into contention in the brutal Western Conference, Jefferson clearly doesn't much mind taking a smaller paycheck if it means a chance to at long last play on a winner. (The Mavs' wing crop would be even stronger if they managed to retain Shawn Marion, but with Dallas now limited to just their $2.7 million "room" exception to offer the versatile veteran, he's expected to move on.)

***

• The Knicks re-signed center Cole Aldrich to a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $981,084, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com. The 6-foot-11, 245-pound big man has yet to live up to the high hopes some had for him when the New Orleans Hornets chose him out with the 11th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft before promptly flipping him to the Thunder, kickstarting a nomadic existence that would see the Kansas center play for five NBA teams (plus the D-League's Tulsa 66ers) during his first four pro seasons, but he showed some flashes for the Knicks last season.

View gallery

.
Cole Aldrich protects the rim. (Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

Cole Aldrich protects the rim. (Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

The sample sizes were very small, thanks in large part to former Knicks coach Mike Woodson rarely deigning to look to the young bigs at the end of his bench, but Aldrich offered some intriguing promise on the defensive end during his first season in Manhattan. He rebounded more than one-third of opponents' missed shots during his time on the floor while blocking 8.1 percent of their field-goal attempts, a higher block rate than the likes of league leaders Ibaka and Anthony Davis. Opponents shot just 43.6 percent at the rim when he was in the neighborhood defensively, according to NBA.com's SportVU optical tracking data; that's roughly commensurate with the marks put up by elite defensive big men like Ibaka, Splitter, Andrew Bogut and Taj Gibson. Aldrich hasn't shown a ton offensively, but he appears to be the proverbial (near-)7-footer who can walk and chew gum at the same time, and he might have some real upside on the other end of the floor.

Samuel Dalembert, acquired in the deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas, will likely start at center for New York, but as presently constituted, the Knicks look awful thin up front and, with Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani in the fold, in desperate need of players who can capably defend and rebound on the interior. We'll see if new head coach Fisher — with whom Aldrich briefly teamed on the 2011-12 Thunder — is more open to throwing his young big man into the fire than his predecessor was.

***

• The Brooklyn Nets have brought back Alan Anderson on a two-year contract, according to the veteran's agency, Priority Sports. The swingman will earn $2.6 million over the course of the deal, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post — $1.27 million in '14-'15, $1.33 million in '15-'16, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York — and Anderson will have a player option for Year 2. (It's basically the same deal he got last year, with a slight salary bump.)

View gallery

.
Alan Anderson will keep giving the Nets tough two-way play on the wing. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Alan Anderson will keep giving the Nets tough two-way play on the wing. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Hopes that Anderson — inked at the end of July 2013, after last summer's free-agent class had been picked over — would provide a high-value 3-and-D option didn't quite pan out, thanks to some shakiness on the front end of that conjunction. More than half of Anderson's field-goal attempts came from beyond the arc last season, but he cashed in on just 33.9 percent of them (and just 29.3 percent from the short corners). Anderson was brought to Brooklyn primarily to offer some defensive versatility on the wing, though, and he largely held up his end of the bargain. The Nets allowed about 2 1/2 fewer points per 100 possessions with the Michigan State product in the lineup, according to NBA.com's stat tool, and he held opposing shooting guards and small forwards to well-below-league-average per-minute productivity, according to 82games.com's charting.

Given that defensive prowess, the 31-year-old figures to get a healthy amount of opportunities under new Nets head coach Lionel Hollins, especially for a Brooklyn bunch that has seen starting small forward/small-ball power forward Paul Pierce head to our nation's capital, starting "shooting" guard Shaun Livingston head to the Bay Area, and midseason backcourt acquisition Marcus Thornton moved to the Boston Celtics in a three-team deal.

It remains to be seen what kind of rotation Hollins will prefer in his maiden voyage with the Nets — All-Star Joe Johnson is, of course, a lock for one starting wing spot, with veteran Andrei Kirilenko and a pair of new additions, Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev, in the mix for the other — but Anderson's bona fides as an NBA defender will likely earn him early calls off the bench for Brooklyn again this season. You'd be tempted to identify locking down a rotation wing for just north of the veteran's minimum a bargain ... until you remember that these are the Nets, and that even such a limited expense carries a pretty significant tax penalty. That's not Anderson's fault, though, and he should help a Nets team fighting to stay afloat in a topsy-turvy Eastern Conference.

- - - - - - -

Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL, "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

View Comments (14)