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Fields Media Day 2

Does Anyone Want The Raptors UFA Landry Fields?

Landry Fields is only 27-years-old with five years of NBA experience behind him and there have been rumors that the Toronto Raptors unrestricted free agent has been under consideration by both the Knicks and the Cavaliers. However, NBA free agency has pretty much dried up and the usual suggestions about going to China, Europe or retirement have been out there for many of the players still on the outside looking in. Although, Fields surprisingly remains on some pundits best available list.

When Landry was drafted by the Knicks as a second round pick in 2010, it quickly became apparent they had themselves a steal. A high basketball I.Q. wing that played tough defense and had a nice three-point shot, Fields looked like a keeper. His shooting dipped a bit in his second season, but that didn’t stop the Raptors from stealing him away in free agency with an $18.75 million three-year deal.    
If only Toronto knew then what they found out after he tried to play the next season. Fields had a twitchy nerve in his right arm that ruined his jump shot and hammered his self-confidence. Fields even tried to switch shooting hands the next summer, but gave up as he hoped surgery would be his answer.    
“I had my ups and downs, some days were much better than other days that were real low,” Fields said just before his second season in Toronto. “I thought about even switching to my left hand and shooting left-handed. I did about a week-and-a-half of that this summer just to see if I could be somewhat decent by the time the season rolled around, but – stick with my right. Some days it was worse than before the surgery and that was really playing with me a lot, but talking with the doctors, that was just part of the process.”    
Fields was reported to be going back to the left hand solution again this summer in an attempt to revive his flagging NBA career. However, there haven’t been any indications that the attempt to go lefty went any better this time. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

After struggling with unresolved arm problems through two full seasons in Toronto, Fields could see the writing on the wall about his NBA career prospects last summer. His own words foreshadowing what was about to happen.

“In terms of (my) shot and the arm, it is still an on-going thing,” Fields said just before last season started. “I do the best I can with rehab, it is what it is.

“I do understand that my contract might not be the same (next year). I might not be in basketball after this year.

“At the end of the day basketball is just something I do, it doesn’t define me. As long as I keep it like that, it is not so devastating whenever it ends and it ends for everybody.”

The hardest part for Fields has been he still knows what to do on a basketball court. His basketball I.Q. didn’t disappear, but apparently his right hand hasn’t stopped betraying him. It’s really hard to play with confidence if you’re afraid the hand you are shooting with or passing with could twitch at any moment.

Fields was a great locker room presence in Toronto, positive in the face of adversity, always willing to help the rookies and play hard whenever his coach threw him in a game. He could provide a veteran presence or possibly even look to coaching at some point. The Stanford grad is a smart guy. But does anyone really want Fields on their NBA team as a player? That’s going to be tough unless he’s figured out how to be a lefty.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.