Marc Stein on ESPN.com reported that the New York Knicks are going to buy out forward Corey Brewer and that will make the former Minnesota swingman a free agent. Because Brewer will be officially released before the league-mandated deadline, he will be eligible to play in the playoffs for another team. Marc Stein also reported that the Dallas Mavericks are amongst the teams that are interested in the former Florida Gator. Boston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City are the other teams that are reportedly interested in the defensive-minded forward.
So why would the Knicks being interested in releasing Brewer as he just joined the Knicks only last week as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal? Part of the reasoning could be that Brewer is known mostly for his defense. If he is unable to be counted on as a consistent scoring threat and is just seen as a defensive specialist, he does not fit the Mike D'Antoni system in New York.
The idea of looking at Brewer as an option for the Mavs was mentioned earlier by MMB and the reasoning remains the same. The availability of Brewer does put a minor kink in the theory that Sasha Pavlovic could be the man who could fill out Dallas' roster. If you just want somebody who is a good or safe two-way fit as insurance off the bench at the small forward position, Pavlovic is probably the better choice. Brewer will strike many as the more attractive/flashy player, and the forward would be seen as a guy the Mavericks could sign partially due to the fact it would give them an opportunity to get a first-hand look at him before free agency. Based on his athleticism and youth, Brewer would serve a definite purpose on the Mavericks; it would also help to keep him off of the Spurs, Celtics and Thunder's respective rosters.
Rob Mahoney, who writes for a variety of wonderful sports blogs, wrote an excellent piece on the New York Times NBA Blog breaking down Brewer as a player while using advanced statistics as guide. Here is a excerpt from his breakdown of Brewer:
“Three and D” specialists in the Bowen mold are useful in part because they don’t step outside themselves on offense. They spot up in the corner or run the baseline, but only impact the game offensively when gifted the opportunity. Passes out of double-teams, drive-and-kick feeds – these are the mechanisms that allow perimeter defensive specialists to score. Otherwise, such players are nonfactors on offense.
That’s not the case with Brewer, who has posted a significantly higher usage rate than Shane Battier, James Jones, or many of his other perimeter defending contemporaries. Brewer fancies himself a more active participant in the offense, and unfortunately for the Wolves and now the Knicks, that mindset results in a lot of errant jumpers. He doesn’t break even; Brewer is using too many possessions on low-percentage shots, and not making the kind of widespread defensive impact that could balance out his offensive deficit.
Now, when it comes to players to sign as the 15th man on the roster, you can certainly do worse than Brewer. When you look at the comparison of Brewer versus Sasha Pavlovic for the back end of the roster, one could make the argument to go with a player like Brewer based on the situation. You do know what you are going get with Pavlovic, but you do get a higher ceiling with Brewer's game based on the fact he has not played within a veteran and established system like the Dallas Mavericks. Members of a front office will always believe a player can change for the better in their system and this situation would be no different. This edition of the Mavericks is somewhat lacking in the youth and athleticism department, Brewer could go a long way in helping the Mavs' ability to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to balancing playing in the moment and building for the future.
Either way, it would not hurt for the Mavericks to inquire about obtaining Brewer or Pavlovic. The strength that the Mavs have at the wing position could vanish within a few months. The Mavericks could lose Caron Butler, Peja Stojakovic and DeShawn Stevenson due to free agency in the summer. While it is not likely that all three will depart, it is somewhat likely at least one or two of the pieces will depart, thus the need to find a replacement.
It will be interesting to see what decision the former Florida Gator makes. Brewer was due nearly $5 million next year if his option had been picked up. Going forward, teams will need to take note that the forward could ask for a Mid-Level Exception type of deal going forward into next year. You would have to believe that would work against him as the upcoming Collective-Bargaining Agreement should lead to a reduced salary cap. Based on the capology, the Mavs still have the most to offer Brewer in terms of money for this year. Based on the teams in the running, Dallas has the perfect mix of money and minutes available on a championship contender. The ball is in his court.
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