Wednesday, July 18, 2012

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...

  • The Ithaca Times recaps Jeff Foote's NBA Summer League performance with the Brooklyn Nets last week in Orlando.  The Times writes:
Update: Foote had two lackluster starts for the Brooklyn Nets summer squad following Monday's game. However, he bounced back Thursday night with nine points and a game-high seven rebounds and had his best game on Friday, playing 28 minutes and shooting 5-6 from the floor for a summer league high of 11 points with another summer league high of 11 rebounds and a steal. That kind of performance will get him a long look somewhere.
However, the dissolution of Dwight Howard trade talks hurts Foote's chances with the Nets as they have signed Brooke Lopez and may want a more experienced center to back him up. Lopez is coming back from a major injury, so they may want to hedge their bets with a vet. Of course they may just add Foote on a 1-year deal and sign Howard as a free agent after next season, time can only tell.
Jeff Foote made his most convincing audition for an NBA team so far with his play during the first NBA Summer League game of the season. The seven-foot-tall Cornell and Spencer-Van Etten grad is down in Orlando, FL, playing for the Brooklyn Nets’ summer team and trying to show to the NBA that he does belong.
On Monday, in a loss to the summer version of the Orlando Magic, Foote scored 10 points on five for eight shots. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.
It was a very solid performance from the only true center on the summer squad, and it’s the big league version of the team that they were facing, the Orlando Magic, that makes that performance more interesting.
As it stands now, the team that is most interested in how Jeff Foote does is the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are looking to bring in a big name at center and pay him a lot of money. That name is not Jeff Foote, but rather Dwight Howard, the star center for the Magic. The Nets and Magic have been working on permutations of trades that would send Howard to the Nets.
In most of these trades, the Nets would send out their starting center, Brooke Lopez, and from what I’ve seen would not get another center. And if they get Howard in a trade they would sign him to a big contract. With big contracts already in Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, that would mean they need cheap guys who can play to round out the bench.
And that is where Jeff Foote would fit in. Foote has an impressive work ethic but never got the college pedigree that is demanded of NBA athletes. His work last season in the basketball minor leagues, the NBA D-League, however, was very good. It was so good that the New Orleans Hornets decided that he would be a good fill in for 10 days as their roster healed from injury.
It’s up to Foote to prove this summer that he is more than a stopgap to be called up here and there. It’s up to him to prove that he is someone who can play with NBA talent on a day-in-day out basis. Unless injury thrusts him into such a role, Foote will only really be considered as a backup, but strong play this week in a starting role for the Nets’ summer team could easily translate into quality play off the bench at 10 minutes per game.
The Nets will have the sharpest eyes on Foote, but that doesn’t mean that other teams aren’t looking at him. For instance, Foote played the previous preseason with the Portland Trailblazers. The Trailblazers just sent one of their centers, Marcus Camby, to the New York Knicks, and may want to fill that hole with someone cheaper, but just as tall. And no one had New Orleans pegged as a possible destination for Foote over the course of the season, but they took a shot at him.
Likely the next step will not be a contract with a team unless he does something really special this next week. The most likely outcome will be that he gets a few preseason invites and has to choose which one he thinks will be his best shot at an NBA roster spot. If all else fails, he’s made a name for himself in the D-League and will have a roster spot on one of those teams as he waits for another call up.

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