Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Sacramento Kings had the, uh, winning bid for Travis Outlaw, who had been placed on amnesty waivers by the New Jersey Nets. Sam Amick of SI.com later reported the price: $12 million over four seasons, or $3 million a year. Outlaw is now the team's eighth highest-paid player behind John Salmons, Marcus Thornton, Francisco Garcia, Chuck Hayes, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson. When all is said and done, he could very well be the No. 8 player in the rotation, supplanting Donte Greene and Garcia as the back-up small forward.
Outlaw had signed a five-year, $35 million deal with the Nets in July 2010; the deal was universally criticized. He ended up having the worst season of his career with the Nets, which is saying something considering he was a preps-to-pros player. He's shooting fell off the table last season (37 percent from the field, 30 percent on threes), and he really doesn't do a whole lot else effectively. He's a microwave scorer who last season totally struggled to score, a shooter who has had trouble shooting. He had four straight seasons shooting three-pointers at better than 37.7 percent before last year's disaster, and that shooting touch at the three or stretch four could be nice to have.
Something to watch will be how Paul Westphal uses him: in Portland, Outlaw was much better than he's been in L.A. and New Jersey the past two seasons. He shot a ton of long two-pointers for the Blazers, and was pretty damn good at converting them (compared to others; it's still a largely inefficient shot).
The salary commitment is small, just 5 percent of the cap. Outlaw won't likely "block" anyone -- Tyler Honeycutt is the only prospect at small forward who will lose rotation time because of this, assuming Donte Greene continues to get looks.
There's not a whole lot to lose here, but I'll be stunned if this ends up looking like a smart deal at any point in the future. It's another player with some talent for Westphal to play with.
I would be remiss not to re-introduce the Travis Outlaw canon into the record. The Oregonian's Kyle Laggner wrote the quintessential Outlaw profile in the summer of 2008. It includes this amazing, seemingly serious exchange
[Outlaw] says he would like to average 15 shots this season -- the amount Roy and Aldridge averaged last season -- and disputes the notion that he had the green light with the Blazers.
"Noooo. Noooo," Outlaw says about the green light, prompting his imitation of Blazers coach Nate McMillan. "'Now Travis, that shot, you can get something better than that.'"
John, his brother, agrees with McMillan's theory, that Outlaw could drive more and get more dunks or free throw attempts instead of settling for the jumper. But Outlaw doesn't want to hear any of it.
"Now, Carmelo, he's doing 360 (degree) fades, and George Karl is over there (he claps his hands) 'That's all right,'" Outlaw says. "Let me get a light like that. I be trying some stuff."
He has, in essence, fallen in love with his jumper, and is not shy about admitting it. He calls his jumpers "wet" because they splash through the net.
"I shoot jumpers like layups," Outlaw says. "Sometimes I get on a fast break and I want to pull up."