Ujiri is in the hunt for Brandon Wright:
The Mavericks would like to bring Brandan Wright back to Dallas, but there are several teams interested in the high-flying, high-efficiency backup big man’s services.
According to a source, the Mavs, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks all expressed interest in Wright during the opening hours of free agency.
Wright, like Brandon Bass and Ian Mahinmi in recent years, was a minimum-salary reclamation project whose value increased significantly during his two-year stint in Dallas. Wright, the eighth overall pick of the 2007 draft, had the league’s 20th best player efficiency rating (21.03) in a limited role last season. The 25-year-old fell out of the rotation for a stretch in the middle of the season, but he finished on a high note, averaging 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24 minutes per game to help the Mavs got 15-8 down the stretch.
The Mavs own Wright’s Early Bird rights, which would allow them to exceed the salary cap to sign him to a multi-year deal worth up to 104.5 percent of the average player salary (more than $5 million per year). The cutoff point for the Mavs’ bidding could be the four-year, $16 million deal Mahinmi signed with the Pacers last season.
This could potentially fill that backup center need that is a little bit glaring right now. With only Aaron Gray to complement Jonas Valanciunas, reinforcements are needed, and although the 25-year old Wright is the right age, he has had injury issues and is not the greatest defender. I think the Raptors could do better. Here’s his scouting report anyway:
+ Long lefty with accurate short-range shot. Good finisher but no post game.
+ Big and talented, but hugely injury-prone. Motivation has been questioned.
+ Lacks strength, poor rebounder. Blocks shots but overall defense needs work.
Wright stayed healthy for the first time in his career and became perhaps the league’s best free-agent signing per dollar as a result. With his length and soft touch, Wright has always been able to convert near the rim and did so again, hitting 61.8 percent from the floor last season — including an impressive 76.1 percent at the rim — and pumping in 17.2 points per 40 minutes. Wright finished third among centers in TS%, while sporting the second-lowest turnover ratio. That’s a tough combo to beat.
Dallas also figured out some ways to hide Wright on defense, using him in zones or situations when the opponent didn’t have a physical post player. Nonetheless, he still needs a lot of work here. He blocks shots in bunches, sending back 3.19 per 40 minutes to rank fourth among centers last season, but his lack of physicality is a major negative.
He also was one of only two players to play at least 500 minutes without drawing an offensive foul (Terrence Williams was the other). Meanwhile, opposing centers had a 20.7 PER with Wright on the court, according to 82games.com, and he was 58th out of 63 centers in rebound rate.