NBA Roster Moves – Tar Heel Edition
The 2014-2015 NBA season was one to remember for Heels fans and basketball enthusiasts alike. With two young former Carolina ballers hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June, fans of the right shade of blue rejoiced in watching Harrison Barnes and Professor McAdoo getting to the sport’s pinnacle (s/o Cam Newton) early in their careers.
Now that the NBA off-season has begun, rosters are starting to change often, and sometimes drastically. Deandre Jordan’s decision to de-commit from Dallas is just one example of how quickly teams can change during the off-season. Teams are often left with less-than-ideal situations and must find talent elsewhere, and for the right price.
Here’s a look at the Tar Heels wearing new uniforms next season:
BRANDAN WRIGHT – F / Memphis Grizzlies
Wright is moving into his eighth season as a pro, and will be asked for quality back-up minutes behind Z-Bo and Marc Gasol. His 7+ ppg and 4+ rebounds should allow the pair of all-star bigs some decent rest, and could be a big contributor if he can knock down a perimeter shot or two. Brandan’s long arms and quality timing have allowed him to become a defensive specialist and rim protector, both of which are always helpful on an NBA bench. Wright won the Tennessee state title in 2003 and was raised around the Nashville area.
WAYNE ELLINGTON – G / Brooklyn Nets
Ellington has been waiting in the wings (sorry, had to) for an opportunity to show his smooth shooting stroke and serviceable guard skills at the next level. Signing a multiple-year contract in Brooklyn will allow him to relax and step in as a badly-needed wing shooter and warm body to replace the ghost of Joe Johnson, or whoever will start at SG. Ellington has been solid as a pro, and hopes to find a role in the Nets’ back court this season.
ED DAVIS – F / Portland Trail Blazers
Young Ed Davis is up to 240lbs and has become a solid rebounder in his five NBA seasons. Portland obviously needs help at PF with the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge, and Davis will immediately step in to a larger role than he had in Memphis or Toronto. He definitely will not step into the same thing he had in LA, which was a steaming pile. Ed’s 60% shooting last year (up from a career avg. of 55%) showed Portland execs enough to believe in, and he will benefit from Dame Lillard’s ball-sharing capability.
J.P. TOKOTO – G / Philadelphia 76ers
Tokoto has all of the physical tools to become a highlight-reel dunker and lock-down defender, prompting the Philly brass to spend one of their 7,836 second rounders on the high-flying former Heel. However, with the extremely young and unproven Sixers fresh out of tank mode, he will be hard-pressed to find minutes without a solid perimeter shot. The Sixers doubled down on big men, drafting Jahlil Okafor to pair with Nerlens Noel to one day create a stupid good interior presence. He and J.P. are creating chemistry, which leads me to wonder if #TOKAFOR will become a force strong enough to bring thousands of “Houses Divided” together in NBA bliss. The NBA is just the Millionaire AAU Boy’s Club, right?
REGGIE BULLOCK – G / Detroit Pistons
Bullock left North Carolina with some rough edges around his game, and is being sent to Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons, where he hopes to get back on track. The deal included the former all-star Danny Granger, RB, and one of the Morris twins
for a ham sandwich for future second-round picks, so anything above Reggie’s career 1.9 ppg would essentially be found money for Detroit. At very least, Bullock can find some affordable housing in the area.
Many teams are still looking to fill roster holes before training camps roll around, so check back at the Depot or follow us on twitter (@tarheeldepot) for all the latest moves involving former Tar Heels in the NBA.
Credit: NBA Stats, picshype.com, Joe McNally