6 2013-14 NBA Playoff Contenders That Should Trade for Jimmer Fredette
The "Free Jimmer Fredette" movement has reached its tipping point.
The Sacramento Kings have decided not to pick up Fredette's team option for next year, making him an unrestricted free agent after this season.
It's a somewhat surprising fall for Fredette, who has gone from college standout at BYU to the 10th pick in the draft to a third-string guard for the Kings in just two seasons.
Is too late for him to revive his career? Maybe not. Despite failing to live up to the hype overall, Fredette has still shot the ball very well from behind the arc in his limited time on the floor, and there appear to be suitors out there on the trade market.
Utah seems like a natural fit given the injuries at point guard for the Jazz and the need to sell tickets, but perhaps the following six playoff contenders can instead provide a better home for Fredette this season.
The Toronto Raptors may have the worst bench in the league, and that's not exactly conducive to a playoff appearance.
The backup point guard spot in Toronto is currently held down by D.J. Augustin, a player whose name value is probably his only real value at this point.
Augustin shot 35 percent from the field last year for the Indiana Pacers, and despite his reputation as a perimeter threat, he's only a 36.9 percent career three-point shooter. He's essentially Fredette with better ball-handling, but much, much worse shooting ability.
Fredette could be a good fit in Toronto, especially if a Rudy Gay or DeMar DeRozan trade is in the works. While Terrence Ross would stand to benefit the most from either of those players leaving, inserting Fredette into the rotation and adding some perimeter shooting would make plenty of sense for a team that finished 26th in three-point percentage last season.
A trade for Fredette may be a part of a bigger move or a follow-up trade, as there's no real good straight up salary match and Toronto is too close to the luxury tax to add any real salary.
That said, if Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri starts moving and shaking up the roster, Fredette would be a great low-risk addition.
Out of all the potential landing spots for Jimmer Fredette, the Cleveland Cavaliers might be the best fit.
Why is that? Well, we know Kyrie Irving is a star, but it's hard to ignore the fact that he's missed 38 games over the last two seasons.
Jarrett Jack is a solid backup, and he has experience playing next to pure shooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Fredette and Jack may not seem like a great fit on paper, but it could work.
Maybe most importantly, the Cavaliers ranked 23rd in three-point percentage last season, and Fredette is a 41.6 percent career three-point shooter.
Add all that up, and Fredette makes sense as a backup combo guard who can provide some desperately needed floor spacing for Irving, Jack and Dion Waiters to do their thing off the bounce.
Fredette's now expiring salary jibes with Cleveland's pie-in-the-sky free-agency plans for next offseason as well, and could help Cleveland create even more cap room.
The Cavs could also clear up their murky small forward situation and create more playing time for Anthony Bennett by sending out Alonzo Gee in return, who would be a decent fit in Sacramento as a solid option at small forward.
Bottom line, good playoff teams need perimeter shooting, and the Cavs don't have that right now. Trading for Fredette could help in a big way.
John Wall is another elite point guard in the league, but like Kyrie Irving, he's struggled with injuries in the past.
The Washington Wizards may be playing with fire a bit by having Eric Maynor as the only other true point guard on the roster. Most teams like to carry three point guards, and we know that Washington is in total win-now mode this season after the trade for Marcin Gortat.
Could Fredette be a part of that plan as a low-risk, high-reward trade acquisition? He could probably be had for cheap, as a player like Chris Singleton might even do the trick. Kings head coach Mike Malone is a defensive-minded guy, and although he's struggled early on in his career, Singleton has a lot of promise on that end of the floor.
Again, potential playoff teams can always use more shooters on the roster, and the Wizards have enough big perimeter defenders to protect Fredette defensively. Adding another scorer (16.4 points per 36 on his career) and emergency point guard to an offense that ranked dead last in efficiency last year might be a good idea.
On paper, the Detroit Pistons don't have much of a need for Jimmer Fredette.
Brandon Jennings, Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will all warrant playing time when healthy, and that would put Fredette in a situation awfully similar to where he is now.
Still, that doesn't take into account what the team needs on the floor. The Pistons are a massive team up front, but the lack of floor spacers on the perimeter could become problematic sooner rather than later.
Add in that Billups will have a hard time staying healthy for all 82 games at his age, and that Rodney Stuckey is a major trade piece on an expiring deal, and perhaps Fredette could be a target at some point down the line for Detroit, particularly if Caldwell-Pope really struggles early on.
San Antonio Spurs
A player like former San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal should give Jimmer Fredette some hope.
Although Neal bounced around overseas and throughout the league quite a bit, he finally made it work in San Antonio's offensive system.
Fredette is a similar player to Neal at this point in his career, so perhaps the San Antonio Spurs would use him to replace Neal's role that's remained largely unfilled after Neal accepted an offer with the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason.
Considering Gregg Popovich's tendency to rest his starters as much as possible, getting a good look at Fredette in a contract year could be a savvy move. We know that San Antonio's system can support shooters who don't do much else, and with Manu Ginobili declining, the Spurs could probably use another scoring threat in the backcourt.
Marco Belinelli and Nando De Colo would probably have to stumble first, but Fredette should at least be on San Antonio's radar at some point.
The Indiana Pacers made some nice improvements to their bench this season, adding Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson to the roster.
Watson in particular was a great add, as he should prove to be a massive upgrade over D.J. Augustin on both ends of the floor.
After Watson, though, the point guard situation is a little dicey for the Pacers. Donald Sloan isn't exactly a household name, and the depth behind Lance Stephenson is largely unproven as well.
From Jimmer Fredette's point of view, a place like Indiana would be an ideal landing spot. The Pacers have a massive shot-blocker to back him up, elite perimeter defenders to take the tough assignments and an evolving creator in Paul George that can manufacture open looks.
Sacramento may have lessened its leverage in a Fredette trade by declining his team option, as Fredette is essentially a rental for any team at this point. Indiana, however, would actually prefer a rental.
Already scrounging for money to re-sign Lance Stephenson and avoid the luxury tax next year, the Pacers may come to the conclusion that moving Copeland's $3 million dollar salary for next season is the best way to go. At least in Fredette, the Pacers would get another capable outside shooter in exchange for the salary dump.
Brooklyn Nets: If only they had the assets to exchange. Finding the right salary match for Fredette is a little tough, and the Kings probably don't have much of a need for Mirza Teletovic. Still, given Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston's health issues at point guard, Fredette could be a target at some point.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jerryd Bayless is a little redundant with Fredette, but the Memphis Grizzlies could use more three-point shooting after finishing 30th in makes and attempts last year. A deal between the Grizzlies and Kings would likely have to involve a third team, as there are no good matches to be had here.
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls need size and a reduced luxury-tax payment first and foremost, but perimeter shooting is always welcome. There's no great trade fit here either, unless the Bulls were willing to give up on Marquis Teague or Tony Snell, which seems pretty unlikely.