Travis Outlaw is ready to put last season behind him.
“I want to prove I am what you paid for,” said Outlaw, who shot a career-worst 37.5 percent in 2010-11, his first year in New Jersey after signing a five-year, $35 million contract. “I don’t wanna be known as a player that got a check and all of a sudden disappeared out of the league.”
Most Nets fans would be happy if he disappeared out of New Jersey, though.
Outlaw is definitely a candidate to be waived via the NBA’s one-time amnesty clause under the new CBA. By waiving the 28-year-old small forward, the Nets would rid themselves of the final four years and $28 million on his deal, while freeing up $7 million in cap space in an effort to upgrade at the small forward position.
Outlaw’s offseason proved to be just as bad as his regular season. He broke his right shooting hand during a boxing workout over two months ago, which led to surgery. Outlaw said a pin or two was inserted into his right hand.
“It wasn’t [hitting] the heavy bag,” Outlaw said, denying a previous report. “I don’t wanna say anything because it’s kind of embarrassing. I just want to keep it to myself and let it blow over.”
The Nets had their first day of training camp on Friday, but Outlaw wasn’t out on the court with his teammates. He went through the non-contact portion of practice, according to coach Avery Johnson, but rode the stationary bike while the rest of his teammates played 5-on-5. He’ll be out until Dec. 16, the day the Nets have decide if they’re going to dump Outlaw or hold onto their amnesty right until next offseason.
Outlaw said his hand is healed, but there is still some swelling. He had an ice-wrap over his hand after practice.
“I hope so,” Outlaw responded when asked if he thought he was going to remain a Net in a week. “It’s a business. If they feel they’re gonna make the team better a certain way, that’s what they’re gonna do what’s best for the team.”
Outlaw said the Nets haven’t spoken to him about what his future holds.
Asked what went wrong in his first season with the team, Outlaw responded, “I think in my mind I started complaining to myself too much. I think I started being frustrated with myself instead of just relaxing and playing the game I’ve been playing for nine years.”
At the end of practice, Outlaw was asked if he heard about what happened to his former teammate in Porland, Brandon Roy.
Of course Outlaw knew Roy had retired because of multiple-injuries. The two are best friends. Outlaw was clearly distraught over the news.
“Life’s too short,” he said, referring to a player’s career in the league.