When Utah traded Ronnie Brewer at the 2010 deadline to the Memphis Grizzlies, it was widely assumed he'd receive a qualifying offer from his new employers before free agency kicked off. After all, the Griz surrendered a protected first round pick for his services. Plus, the guy's a pretty useful role player. Athletic. Good slasher. Able to handle the ball with purpose (assist to turnover ratio of nearly 3-1). Very active defender, with good anticipation and over 1.6 steals per game last season in SLC. He's been one of my favorite young role players of the last few years.
The Griz are heavy on dudes -- O.J. Mayo, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay (if retained), even Mike Conley to a degree -- desirous of being featured cogs. Thus, a quality role player willing to fill the gaps didn't strike me as a player the brass would allow unrestricted status.
Still, when Memphis drafted a pair of guards (Xavier Henry, Greivis Vasquez), it made me wonder if Brewer was suddenly deemed expendable. I asked someone with a pretty good bead on team affairs, and he felt the guard would receive the qualifying offer as previously expected. Thus, when I penned my look at realistic free agent guards for the Lakers, I left Brewer's name out of the mix.
Well, wouldn't you know it, news just hit Memphis is letting Brewer hit the open market without restriction. Oh, timing! You crazy minx! Couldn't this development have been announced before BK and I recorded a PodKast devoted entirely to free agency? I mean, really?
I don't know what kind of money Brewer is looking for (his last contract paid 2.7 mil), what the market bears for him or what the Lakers would be willing to pay. For that matter, R.B.'s not without flaws. He's virtually no threat from three-point land (25.8 percent in 2010) and the Lakers need downtown options. His career clip at the stripe (71 percent, rounding up) leaves something to be desired as well. Having said that, I've long considered an underrated part of the Jazz's success the last few seasons and would be pretty stoked if he ended up a Laker, the price being right.
Yet one more thing to keep your eyes as 9:01 pm PT approaches.