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Friday Notes: Najera, Krstic, Mo, Joe, podcasting

  • If you haven't already seen it, check out Part I and Part II of our John Hammond interview.
  • Chris Thomasson at the Rocky Mountain News writes that Nuggets' free agent forward Eduardo Najera would prefer to stay in Denver, but has also been in touch with the Bucks. Najera just so happened to play at Oklahoma for Kelvin Sampson in the late '90s.
    "A reunion would be great," Najera said. "But I'm not ready for that unless the Nuggets aren't a possibility."
    Najera is your prototypical scrappy glue guy who can provide solid minutes as an undersized PF--ideally in a backup role. His rebound rates have always been below average for a 4 and he's not a scorer, but he's a defensive pest and is always one of the league leaders in floor burn.  Last year he also started shooting threes and hit them at a respectable clip (36%).  And his +/- numbers last year were pretty crazy: the Nuggets allowed 5.5 fewer points/100 possessions and also scored 4.0 more points/100 possesions with him on the court.  Considering he was splitting time with decent players like Kenyon Martin and Nene, that's pretty damn impressive, though I wouldn't put any money on him duplicating those numbers next year.

    The Nuggets have luxury tax issues, so Najera is an obvious candidate to leave for greener (dual meaning!) pastures this summer.  It sounds like Najera will want more than a BAE-level deal, but it's unclear if the Bucks would want to pay more than that given their current salary structure. Considering the Bucks' PF shortage and how nicely Najera would fit a Scott Skiles team, I think he'd be a very solid signing for that price. For a much longer and well-informed take on Najera, roll over to our friends at Pickaxe and Roll.
  • Chad Ford speculates that the Bucks could make a move for RFA big man Nenad Krstic.
    Sounds like the Bucks are going for it and yes, they need another four. I wouldn't be surprised to see them work a sign-and-trade with the Nets for Nenad Krstic. He was a borderline All-Star before getting hurt. He's only looking for a 2 to 3 year deal, so he'd be worth the risk.
    While Krstic struggled following knee surgery last year, he had a very promising 05/06 with 13.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in 30.8 mpg and was averaging 16/6 before he tore his ACL 26 games into the 06/07 season.  And after trading for Yi Jianlian and and drafting Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson, the Nets now have a logjam at the big spots and Krstic seems an obvious candidate to leave. 

    What would it mean for the Bucks? Well, he's a below-average rebounder and I'm not sold on his mobility at the PF position, but he's got a nice offensive skillset and could end up being a bargain if he returns to full health this season.  I imagine he'd cost even more than Najera though ($3-4 mil per?), so whether the Bucks can swing it financially is up for debate.  The Nets could use a 3, so they could take Desmond Mason's expiring deal in a sign-and-trade, but I'm not really sure that's even worth the hassle for them. 
  • The Bratwurst maps out where the Bucks should go from here.
  • Bucks Diary defends Mo Williams. I actually agree with Ty that far too much is made of Mo's shoot-first mentality.  The guy has become an excellent scorer, so while you'd love it if he could also get other guys more involved, we shouldn't knock him just for being a PG who can score. This past season his TS% (.566) even eclipsed that of Redd (.559), not to mention Bogut (.532) and everyone else on the team.  One thing I've been pondering lately is whether Skiles would bring Mo off the bench as a scoring sixth man.  Skiles frequently did that with Ben Gordon in Chicago, and while it wasn't without controversy there's no question that the Bucks' second unit could use Mo's scoring; the starters on the other hand seem to have enough guys who can put the ball in the hoop. Dallas is probably the best example of the strategy, having used Jason Terry in that capacity last year to good effect.
  • Check out the Hoops Addict podcast to hear me blather about all things Bucks (I come on at about the 36 minute mark).  We cover the RJ deal, draft night, Charlie V, free agency, and the mystical origins of our site name. Thanks to host Ryan McNeill for having me on his show and hopefully we'll do it again soon.  
  • Darren Gendron of the Maryland Community Newspapers reports on Joe Alexander mania in his (sorta) home state.
    Alexander mania reached its fever pitch when he was invited to the draft’s green room. And with that, his voice mail on his cell phone has become overloaded.

    ‘‘Chances are, I’m not going to hear your message for about a month," Alexander’s voice mail warns, before suggesting that you text him instead. It’s his preferred communication for friends now.
  • The Wages of Wins provides an interesting look at Richard Jefferson's Nets career.