There is real value in low-cost, third-string veteran big men around the league who can help out a little during the long grind of an NBA season. DJ Mbenga has two rings, enough said.
On July 1… well, really a couple weeks after that, teams will start to think about and call those guys. Stromile Swift wants to be one of those guys again. He spent nine seasons in the NBA playing as a power forward (and occasional undersized center), last season went to the Sixers training camp but then ended up playing for the Shandong Lions in China. He wants back in the big game, as he told the Sherveport Times at the Swift Foundation Weekend Kickoff.
“I just went there to keep my body right, to keep playing,” Swift said. “I feel like I still have three, maybe four, years I can play at a high level. I wanted to go over there and keep playing and keep my body right. I got to see a lot of different things. It was a pretty good experience.”
Swift will not be picky. He just wants to play in the NBA again. But he’ll have to play better than he did in the 08-09 season. Splitting time between the Nets and Suns, his shooting percentage dropped to a personal low of 43.8 percent, but his turnover rate skyrocketed (and it was never low). And he kept taking a lot more shots than you want your backup big man to take. His PER of 6.8 that year, after floating near the league average of 15 every other year of his career, sums up what happens to his game.
Now, he wants a chance, and may well get one with a camp invite (but no set deal). He knows he has to wait though, as first up for teams will be LeBron and Wade and Amare first.
“You have to sit back and wait until some of those guys make their move and they’ll start dealing with everybody after that,” the 6-foot-9 Swift said. “It’s a business, so you’ve got to be patient. We know how important those guys are to the league and what they mean to the fans. It’s one of those situations where you have to sit back and wait and see what happens with them.”