Wednesday, 30 January 2019 04:51

Free Agent Frenzy

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The Minnesota Marauders went into free agency looking to build a winning team or at least a very competitive team. They signed a total of 5 players including re-signing last season's starting PG, Stanley Bobo. They did not have the cap space to go after one big name because there are so many holes that the front office needed to fill. That being said, they did go after combo guard, Frank Williams, but decided to go another direction after his demands were too high and wouldn't be in the team's best interest long-term. The front office including 1st year GM Jason Rouse did a decent job filling the roster and time will only tell if he made the right calls. Let's take a look at the newcomers starting with the re-signing of Stanley Bobo.

After a breakout year the former #9 overall pick by the Americans in the 2020 draft, he decided to stay put for at least another season. He signed a 2-year deal worth just under $14,500,000 with the 2nd year being a team option. The 25-year-old started 75 games a year ago and averaged 12.2ppg, 6.9apg and 3.3rpg, while shooting just over 43% from the field and having a 2.84 assists to turnover ratio. He's still developing and the team has high hopes that he can lead this team into the playoffs. This will be his 5th full season in the league and a make or break for him as the team holds his future heading into next year's off-season. Rouse commented…

"We really need Stanley to step it up to the next level after showing the league that he can be a everyday starter at PG. Everybody knows about his struggles on defense so we hope he works hard during training camps to improve in that department. On offense, he's a pure passer and can knock down the jumpshot so I'm not too worried about his offensive production. Let's just hope that he can stay healthy as PG's in this league are very hard to find."

Next up, the team signed 24-year-old SG Joey Short to a similar contract as Bobo's, 2 years worth just over $14,300,000 with the 2nd year being a team option. He also makes his way over from the Americans where he came off the bench averaging just over 12 minutes per game. His numbers weren't the greatest due to lack of playing time, but that should change here in Minnesota. At 6'4" and 208 he's an athletic freak of nature, and sources have mentioned that he might be starting at SF. GM Rouse, couldn't stop talking about this kid and can't wait to see him on the court. Rouse spoke…

"I absolutely love the potential of Joey and believe he'll show the league that he can be a definite starter if given the opportunity. Athletic freak was the first thing that came to mind when watching film on him. He's built like a rock at 6'4" and can jump out of the gym along with a killer crossover that leaves defenders on the floor. We believe he can play at SF and that he would be a matchup nightmare on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively he's above average and with his athleticism that even makes him better. Excited to see what he can do to help turn this franchise around."

The team's 3rd signing is yet another frontcourt player, SG George Ellis, who comes over from the Sharks just like Short. He's the definition of a journeyman as the 30-year-old is now playing with his 6th team in 7 years. As of now he will most likely be the Marauders starting SG. Defensively he's well above average and offensively he can put up some points as he averaged 13.5 in just 20 minutes per game with the Sharks a year ago. He signed a 2-year deal worth around $6,250,000 with the 2nd year being a team option.  Rouse commented…

"An absolute bargain and we are thankful that he signed for a very reasonable amount of money. We know he wants to start as his career has been mostly coming off of the bench, and it looks like he may get his wish. The fact that he can play defense at a position where you really need defense will most likely put him in the starting lineup. Plus, he brings much needed veteran leadership to a very young team."

With their 4th signing the Marauders signed 29-year-old Charles Mentor who comes over from the Snipers where he played his last 3 seasons. He signed a 2 year deal worth just around $8,000,000 and like the other signings the 2nd year will be a team option. He will most likely come off the bench and play at the SF position and possibly at PF, but he lacks the size at 6'6". His strong points are post defense and rebounding while his weaknesses are his athleticism along with being offensively challenged. Rouse spoke…

"We brought Charles in to solidify our bench by given us quality minutes throughout the season. He's not going to put up big numbers but does the dirty things like playing defense and rebounding."

With their 5th and final signing the team went after D league star Mustafa Ranby who has only played 30 games in the OBWL, averaging 5.9 minutes in 2019 with the Sea Dogs. He put up huge numbers for the Stallions affiliate scoring 19.5ppg and grabbing 8.3rpg. He was named all-league 1st team and named to the All-Star team a year ago as he had a breakout season. The team needed another scoring option down low and believe, Ranby, will fill that at a bargain price of $850,000 over one season. Rouse commented…

"I had my eye on this kid all last season down in the D league and I'm very happy that we can help him live out his dreams here in the OBWL. We know it's not going to be an easy transition but believe that he can give us a nice scoring punch off of the bench. He really deserves a chance to prove that he can play with the big boys and hopefully our coaching staff will get him ready to do so."

The roster is officially set going into training camp at 14 players and every starting position is up for grabs. Rouse, looks to be going after very athletic players who can fine tune their skills working with the coaching staff. The big question is will this team be better than last year's squad? It will be very hard to be any worse and it looks like this new front office is putting winning first and foremost. The team will not be playing for a draft pick and their goals according to sources is to hit the .500 mark and make it to the playoffs. On to training camps…

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