Last week, back when things were simple and made sense, was when Free Agency started. There were distinct tiers for players, and that once the big names fell, the small ones would surely follow. What happened in reality has been nothing but insane. Bench players on lottery teams seemed to be the first domino to fall, good players were being throw crazy deals while the elites remained in a wait and see mode. Last week unrestricted free agent Marvin Williams was being courted by a number of teams. While he was open to returning to the Utah Jazz, Woj found out that the interested he was getting from contenders made it unlikely that he could return to Utah, or that the Jazz would not be able to send a compelling offer with enough years on it.
The 28 year old would be entering his 10th year in the league, and San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat were calling there were no real reasons to be looking to return to the Jazz. In addition to the NBA Finalists from last season, playoffs teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards were interested. Beyond them, there was another team close to Utah's situation that was interested -- but one with a legendary training staff that seemed to extend the playing careers of older ballers, the Phoenix Suns. Today Utah is out for obvious reasons as the Heat, who had even went down to meet Marvin only three days ago, went in another direction.
One team that has kept their sights on Marvin has been the team formerly known as the Bobcats.
Marvin is coming to Charlotte for a visit. And well, the Hornets and the Jazz just went up against one another with the Gordon Hayward deal that they (Charlotte) are likely to lose out on. Charlotte just recently lost Josh McRoberts to the Miami Heat (which is partly why they aren't interested in Marvin anymore). The Spurs signed a bunch of their guys back, including Boris Diaw. And I don't know if the Wizards or Clippers are really interested in him. They should be, though.
The Hornets and Williams have discussed parameters of a deal, but no agreement is imminent, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Williams, 28, is perhaps the best available power forward left on the free-agent market and it could be paramount to the Hornets to secure him.
The Jazz still value Williams and haven't given up hope of re-signing him, but his desire for contract security may exceed what Utah's willing to pay, sources said.
While the list of dance partners for Marvin is smaller now than it was at the start of free agency it is obvious that he's going to continue getting looks and calls. He has transitioned to being a legit stretch / face-up bigman. While he's not a killer going to the basket, he's one of the best spot up shooters and reliably makes open jumpers -- especially from the left corner. He can help out on the glass a bit, and made a big return to being useful there last season (7.2 rebounds per 36 minute,s which is a career high), but didn't make a huge splash with his actual on court production beyond making threes.
His numbers took a turn for the worst after the trade deadline and injuries hampered him to just 66 games. The last time Marvin played 75 games or above was back in 2009-2010. He's still really big, has a great wingspan, and finally knows how to play the game. His combine measurables favor him compared to other potential 3/4s out there on the market when it comes to length, which we hope leads to defense. But his athleticism is a decade, and a few axial skeleton injuries removed from the potential that was once there.
So what about the Hornets?
The Hornets need to surround Big Al Jefferson with shooters. A candidate for that is Marvin. Unfortunately, this is not even a good pairing on paper. I'm not denying the brilliance of Steve Clifford, I am just pointing out that Marvin is best in the left corner. And Al Jefferson lives on the left low block. At their best they are inherently competitive against one another. Furthermore, when they were team mates Marvin had the worst shooting performance of his career .423 / .325 / .778. Those represent career lows or are close enough to them to contribute to Marvin's worst season of his career.
I remain unreasonably high on Marvin. I just don't think his best interests are served playing with ball stoppers anymore. He would thrive in a system like what they run in Phoenix, or potentially, Los Angeles - where he would be involved in a lot of pick and pops. Charlotte does not seem to be a good fit for him, even if they believe he will be a good fit for them.
Last season Josh McRoberts shot nearly 300 threes, and Anthony Tolliver nearly 250. They got open shots playing next to Al. Only one of them was really a weapon though. Marvin potentially could be exactly what they want, and be better than either of them (though there's no way he shoots as well as Tolliver did, and no way he has the court vision of McRoberts). But that's been the career long rub on Marvin . . . potential.
How much potential does a 28 year old guy who has been playing for a decade have?
He may not break the bank like some of the other free agents out there, but some team is going to want to take a chance on him. I talked all about him earlier here, and I would still PINE for him -- I know I will -- if he signs somewhere else. I want him to be able to mentor Rodney Hood, and the rest of the youth brigade.
And I'd really, really, like to see what he can do in a free flowing offense based upon equality and ball sharing.
Had I watched more Charlotte Bobcats games last season I may be better placed to see where he fits with them. Right now I just do not if he's a displaced jump shooter who isn't in his pet spots on the floor. (How often do we see this in the NFL, a guy who has made his career out of being a left end looking like garbage on the right side?)
The bottom line is that Marvin can contribute to a team going up. He has a lot of value still, even if he is no longer the player he once was. Teams out there need a guy like him -- and many of them are making public contact with Williams. The one that looks to be in the lead right now is Marvin Williams.
A return to the place where his career really took off, North Carolina, may be the nice jolt his career needs. Right?
As a Marvin supporter, I can get behind that story-line. I am just still in PTSD counseling from the Alfense days that nearly derailed so many careers.
Wherever Marvin goes, I will root for him, just as long as it's not the Los Angeles Lakers or Chicago Bulls. If he ends up in Charlotte that would be pretty cool, and I trust Steve Clifford to turn him around like he did Big Al. It could work. It could be good. And I don't think the Jazz would mind one bit.