It’s now tough to predict Travis Outlaw’s future with this franchise, given the reports of an amnesty clause in the CBA and the Nets’ active search for another small forward.
But here’s some reasons to feel optimistic: He’s only 27, not far removed from strong back-to-back seasons with the Trailblazers. He also was coming off foot surgery in 2009, perhaps contributing to his struggles with the Nets last season.
So if you peel away the five-year, $35 million contract – and, I know, it’s not that simple (or maybe it is) – you’ll see a player capable of fulfilling an important role with the Nets.
And after speaking to Outlaw over the phone yesterday from his home in Mississippi, it’s clear he’s motivated to show that on the court.
“I know I’m way better than what I showed last season,” he said. “I just have to come in there to prove a point and make my team better.”
So what does that mean for Outlaw? He’s working with a conditioning coach and said he’s in better shape than he was at this point last year, when coach Avery Johnson felt compelled to enlist the small forward in his Breakfast Club.
He also is playing in local tournaments, under the radar compared to his teammates competing in New York and overseas.
“A lot of running,” Outlaw said of his offseason training. “I’m putting myself in the best position possible.”