This offseason James Jones and company did a tremendous job of filling out the guard and wing depth around their core pieces. One area they may need to shore up the depth in is the big man rotation, as evident early on with how just one injury (Saric) could really shake up their rotation and force them to rely heavily on rookie Jalen Smith and big man Damian Jones.
The real question is, what happens if they are down one big, then another one gets injured or in foul trouble or has to deal with COVID protocols? You need to build depth that can withstand the blows and riggers of this 72-game season, especially with the pandemic ongoing. The good news is, there are still some quality veteran bigs that can offer a hand in shoring up that depth. Here are the prime targets that I believe they should look to pursue.
According to Shams Charania, Phoenix has waived Johnathan Motley furthering the need for another big and opening another roster spot in the process.
#1: Dewayne Dedmon, C- 7’0″ (31 years old)
Dedmon was waived by the Pistons after being traded there by the Sacramento Kings, and remains unsigned for reasons unknown at this point (money?). He fits the mold of player that Jones covets with his size and floor spacing and ability to block shots. To me, signing Dedmon instead of Damian Jones would’ve made a lot more sense on the surface, unless it comes down to Dedmon demanding more than the veteran minimum. That could be one reason why he remains out of a job in the NBA. I’m not a big fan of Jones, so that’s why any of these guys on this list being added to the roster would make me feel much more comfortable about their depth-chart entering the year.
#2: Ersan Ilyasova, F/C- 6’9″ (33 years old)
The 12-year veteran saw his option get declined by the Bucks after the Bogdan Bogdanovic trade fell through with the Sacramento Kings. He was a solid contributor for Milwaukee the past two seasons and would be an excellent addition on the depth chart to give them another big that can space the floor.
#3: Taj Gibson, F/C- 6’9″ (35 years old)
The New York Knicks declined Gibson’s option after a quiet year from the 35-year-old veteran big man. While he may not have a ton left in the tank, he’s someone you can play alongside Saric or plug in place of Saric at center should there be an injury up front. He may not be a sexy signing, but he’s someone that is a consummate professional and would give them a stable veteran presence on the back-end of their roster.
Other notable big man depth options still on the market:
Notable wing options:
The clock is ticking. The sooner they add a big, the better. You want them to develop as much chemistry as possible with the rest of the team and learn the system, rather than waiting for something to happen to the current depth and forcing a new addition to learn everything on the fly.