Garrett Billings has been out of the Rock lineup all season but his agent tweeted last week that Billings has been cleared to play. So where is he? Not only has he not played, but the Rock haven’t said a word about him. No tweets, no mention of him at games, nothing. I’m hearing that Billings is an RFA but has not signed a contract with the Rock. Now that the team is 8-1 and first overall, they’re not exactly desperate to get him back into the lineup, so the combination of Billings being ready and the Rock’s silence has raised rumours that he’s going to be traded. The two big questions here are: 1. Where? 2. For who?
Seeing as he’s from Langley BC, the obvious choice is the Vancouver Stealth, and I do remember seeing a tweet this past weekend (though I can’t remember who and I can’t find it now) that implied that Billings would only play for the Rock or the Stealth. Then on Saturday night, Teddy Jenner tweeted:
The way the #Stealth are playing right now I don’t know if they have room for Garrett Billings. #NLL
— teddy jenner (@OffTheCrosseBar) February 28, 2015
This startled a few people but he clarified later that there had been no move and he was just referring to the rumours.
Interesting aside: Note the similarity in the picture above to the player in the NLL logo.
The “for who” question is even more interesting. What would the Rock want in return? Billings is arguably the best player in the NLL over the past three seasons (though Cody Jamieson might disagree), so any deal better be significant. But the Rock are 8-1 and don’t really need anything. They have the best 1-2 goaltender combo in the league. Their defense is also among the best in the league and they’ve scored more goals per game than anyone except, ironically, the Stealth. If the Rock trade Billings anywhere in the east or for anything less than three first round draft picks, Jamie Dawick should fire himself as GM.
Personally, I think the best idea for the Rock would be to keep Billings and drop a defender (likely Bill Greer since he was just called up, though I’d be OK with Patrick Merrill or Bill Hostrawser since they take too many penalties). But if they decide they can’t and they want to trade Billings for Rhys Duch, I guess I could live with that. Or I’d take Tyler Digby and a couple of first rounders. But Duch and Digby are both right-handed, as is Billings, so the Rock would end up with the same “problem”, if you want to call having too many talented players a problem.
Maybe Billings can get together with Jeremy Noble and just hang out until their teams stop playing so well.
Update: As Tyler brought up on Addicted to Lacrosse, this was the same injury that Athan Iannucci had back in about 2008 and he was never the same afterwards. In my discussion above, I was assuming that Billings will be 100% back to his old self – if not right away, then shortly thereafter. But it’s possible that he may never get back to where he was. Perhaps three first round picks for the old Garrett Billings might have been fair but until we know how full his recovery was, nobody’s going to give up three firsts for an unknown.
Here’s an unrelated thing I want to bitch about but doesn’t warrant an entire article: the Western Union commercials that have been playing during NLL games. One features Swarm defender David Earl talking about when he was struggling at college and his father came to visit him and helped him get back on track. The other has Mammoth forward Drew Westervelt, who talks about discovering his dyslexia and how his family was very helpful and supportive while he worked to overcome the academic problems that came with that. But then the narrator says “Western Union is there for you”. Are they really trying to equate or even compare their services with the support and care that a family provides? And what the hell does “Moving money for better” mean? It’s not even an English sentence. Are these commercials supposed to make me want to use their services?