2012 NBA Free Agency: Best of Who’s Left
We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty in terms of talent on the free agent market but there’s still value to be had late this summer. While the most accomplished and talented ballers are long gone, there are still players available who are capable of making an impact with a prospective suitor.
Obviously, we’re getting down to the bottom of the barrel. These names aren’t going to wow anybody but there are some quality names on this list that are proficient enough to make an NBA roster and might be savvy enough to make an impact.
Without further ado, here’s the best of what’s left in 2012 NBA free agency:
After playing just 47 games between the 2007-08 and 09-10 seasons due to both injury and suspension , Arenas proved last season with the Memphis Grizzlies that he can still be a contributor on a playoff team. The stats don’t tell the whole story of Arenas’ 23-game stint in Memphis this past season, as his leadership was lauded around the Grizzlies’ locker room.
Both Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph bolstered in April of the 2012 season about how important Arenas’ presence was, which should only help his free agent value this summer. Even at 30-years old, Arenas may have proved this past season that off the court distractions are a thing of the past and that he’s ready to play a vital role on a contending team.
It’s obvious Flynn has failed to live up to the status of the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft but, at 23-years old, there’s little doubt teams across the NBA will likely be willing to give him a shot next season. Gaining shooting touch is a priority, but Flynn has showed the ability to play a solid all-around game in his three seasons so far in the NBA.
Hip injuries have derailed Flynn in the past, but numerous teams could have interest in the young point guard before the dust settles this summer.
Although listed at just five-feet-five-inches in height, Boykins has proven throughout his 13-year NBA career that his miniscule stature doesn’t prevent him from putting the ball in the basket. Even though he only played in eight games last season for the Houston Rockets, the 37-year old Boykins still has the ability to get to the basket – although passing and defense will always be concerns for the pint-sized point guard.
Boykins is no stranger to being on the outside looking in vying for an NBA job but Boykins likely still has at least a training camp invite from an interested team.
Other Notables: Derek Fisher, Mike James
At just 24-years old and with plenty of room to improve, Meeks is likely the best unrestricted free agent shooting guard still available on the market. Last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Meeks started 50 games and was a key contributor for a Sixers team that took the Boston Celtics to the brink in the 2012 playoffs.
Young and ready to make an impact, Meeks has at least three teams vying for his services and the role of a key backup contributor could be just what the doctor ordered at this point of his career. The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the teams that may be in line for his services, could be a quality fit.
One of the best sixth men in the NBA earlier in his career with the Phoenix Suns, Barbosa still has some quality basketball left in the tank and is primed to be picked up by a team looking for veteran scoring. Barbosa averaged double digits in scoring for the sixth time over the past eight seasons this past year – and made 42.4 percent of his 3-pointers in 22 games with the Indiana Pacers; his best percentage from deep in over four years.
A nine-year veteran, and still on the right side of 30, Barbosa has the tools and ability to be a factor for an NBA team – possibly even the Los Angeles Lakers.
Continuing his comeback after major knee injuries have sidelined him for the majority of the past few seasons, Redd is still available for prospective teams looking for veteran marksman.
In 51 games for the Phoenix Suns last season (his most games played since the 2007-08 season), Redd averaged just over eight points a contest. One of the easiest guys to root for in the NBA, Redd may very well be on his way back to relevance if he gets another shot next season.
Other Notables: Marquis Daniels, Martell Webster
Mickael Pietrus :
Known around the NBA as both a quality defender and a solid 3-point shooter, it’s somewhat surprising that Pietrus is still on the market this late in free agency. A nine-year NBA veteran, Pietrus has proved over the years that his fun-loving personality off the court combined with his serious demeanor on it are capable of helping a team.
The stats don’t tell the full story, but those who watched the Celtics during this past postseason know that Pietrus was a deciding factor in at least two of Boston’s wins.
At just 28-years old and with great size for the small forward position, Thornton has a legitimate shot of making an NBA roster for next season. Although he played overseas in Puerto Rico this past season, Thornton is a career double-digit scorer in the NBA and the Brooklyn Nets are weighing their options in terms of signing the four-year vet.
In his last season in the NBA, split between the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards in 2011, Thornton started 23 games and shot nearly 48 percent from the floor.
Even with 15 years of NBA experience under his belt, T-Mac still knows how to put the ball in the basket.
In a reserve role with the Atlanta Hawks this past season, McGrady averaged just over 5 points a game for a Hawks team that reached the postseason. A spot on an NBA team may not be guaranteed, but McGrady proved this past season (5.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists) that he can put up numbers in limited minutes – 16.1 per contest.
Other Notables: Josh Howard, C.J. Miles, Carlos Delfino, Josh Childress
Count me as
one of the few people that thought Blatche was going to stick around in Washington with the Wizards. It seemed like Blatche had really turned a corner last season in terms of his maturity level, and that may still be the case, but as it stands the nearly 7″ big man is still looking for a job this summer.
Blatche has all the tools at 6’11 and 260 pounds, but he’s coming off of his worst NBA season since his rookie year in 2005 due to both injury and ineptitude. Washington wasn’t satisfied with the former second round pick and thus amnestied the big man. Now his future relies on whether or not another NBA team is willing to take a risk and sign the power forward to a guaranteed contract.
Still viewed as a quality rebounder and defender, Martin is on several teams’ radar heading into the final lap of 2012 free agency. Martin, a Dallas-area native, had his worst statistical season coming off the bench this past season with the LA Clippers; but his overall body of work suggests he still has something left in the tank.
Known as a guy who handles the dirty work on an NBA floor, there likely will be no shortage of suitors for the 12-year NBA veteran before it’s all said and done.
Even though last season was a down year for him, the same could be said for most players on the Charlotte Bobcats this past year. Overall, White shot over 50 percent from the field in nearly two seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats and his fortitude around the basket did not go unnoticed.
At 25-years old, most likely, the best is yet to come from White. Whether that’s on the Bobcats’ roster is yet to be seen.
Other Notables: Eddie Najera, Brian Cardinal
According to some, the Birdman may have lost a step over the past few seasons but teams may still be looking to take a gamble that Anderson will revert to his solid defensive form. Even in a “down year” this past season, Anderson averaged 5.3 points (54.6 percent shooting), 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in only 15.2 minutes per contest.
Those numbers are right on track with Anderson’s career averages and another productive NBA season next year isn’t exactly a long shot. In terms of his free agent status, Anderson has had at least one offer to play overseas, so it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be on an NBA roster next season.
While not the dominant offensive player he was in the prime of his career, O’Neal can still serve as a veteran, hard-nosed defensive presence at center on a prospective team.
Even though he’s played 25 games or less in each of the past two seasons for the Boston Celtics, O’Neal told HOOPSWORLD recently that he feels better than he has in the past five years. A six-time All Star, O’Neal (when healthy) still has plenty to bring to the NBA table.
The former number two overall pick hasn’t lived up to the standards of his lofty draft status but could still have a place in the NBA. A solid player in nine NBA seasons, the 27-year old Milicic isn’t an All Star but has still been a rotation player throughout his NBA career.
If Milicic doesn’t decide to sign somewhere in the European League, the Miami HEAT are still an option to continue his NBA career.
Other Notables: Joel Przybilla, Eddy Curry
Who should your favorite NBA team sign? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!