NBA: 2012 Value Free Agents
The 2012 free agency period opened up earlier today and while the likes of Deron Williams, Roy Hibbert and Eric Gordon are expected to break the bank, there are some quality players to be had after the cream of the crop.
These players still have the ability to make a positive impact on teams and can even be key contributors given the right opportunity. However, unlike their more highly paid comrades that are likely to sign for high dollar, these players can likely be had for around the mid-level exception ($5 million) or less.
Let’s a take a look at some quality bargains at each position:
Jason Kidd (2012 Salary: $8,610,500)
At 39 years old, the days of Kidd making lucrative contracts are over, but that doesn’t mean the crafty veteran isn’t of value to a contending team on the cheap. Even at his advanced age, Kidd still has that superstar ability to change the outcome of a game with a key play – whether it be defensively with a steal or block or with a laser-beam pass on offense – in crunch time. Kidd can likely be had for the mid-level exception.
(Possible destinations: Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks)
Kirk Hinrich (2012 Salary: $8,000,000)
The days of Hinrich being a quality starting point guard in this league are over, but the nine-year veteran is still capable of being a solid replacement/back-up point guard for a team in need. While he’s stated that he isn’t interested in taking a contract for the veteran minimum, that may be the only offer for his skill set this offseason – although the mini-MLE ($3 million) may not be out of the question.
(Possible destinations: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers)
Chauncey Billups (2012 Salary: $2,000,032)
Even though he’s coming off a torn left Achilles tendon that sidelined him for the majority of the 2012 season, Billups will be in high demand and could be had for an affordable price this summer. Still a solid contributor and team leader, Billups would be a quality bargain for a contending team looking for help at guard.
(Possible destinations: L.A. Clippers, Miami HEAT, Chicago Bulls)
Delonte West (2012 Salary: $1,146,337)
In his one and only season with the Dallas Mavericks this past year, West proved that he is still capable of being a key contributor and a quality teammate. West has the length and skill to play either guard position and is one of the most solid perimeter defenders in the NBA. The veteran minimum likely isn’t an option unless West gives Dallas a discount.
(Possible destinations: Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks)
Nick Young (2012 Salary: $3,695,857)
Although he’s never met a jump shot he didn’t like, Young is relatively young (27 years old) and has the tools to be a valuable role player in the NBA. Averaging just 9.7 points per game on 39.4 percent shooting didn’t help his value going into the summer, but that could lead to a steal for a team bargain-hunting in free agency.
(Possible destinations: L.A. Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls)
DeShawn Stevenson (2012 Salary: $2,500,000)
One of the toughest and most ferocious defenders in the game, Stevenson has made a living talking tough against some of the best offensive players in the NBA and backing that up with some stellar perimeter defense. Expect Stevenson to secure a contract this offseason around the same amount as the Nets inked him to this past offseason.
(Possible destinations: Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz)
Grant Hill (2012 Salary: $6,500,000)
One of the most resilient players in the NBA, Hill has adapted his game into being a solid defender and quality veteran presence late in his career. Sources say Hill will consider signing for the veteran minimum if the right situation came along.
(Possible destinations: Miami HEAT, Toronto Raptors)
Steve Novak (2012 Salary: $992,680)
Arguably the best shooter from beyond the arc in the game today, Novak will have plenty of suitors this summer on the free agent market. However, it’s likely that Novak stays put with the New York Knicks, who want him back and it appears that the feeling is mutual.
(Possible destinations: New York Knicks)
C.J. Miles (2012 Salary: $3,700,000)
Still young at just 25 years of age, Miles could be an attractive option for teams looking at swingmen on the cheap. A Dallas native, Miles could choose to sign with the Mavericks for the veteran minimum if the right pieces fall together.
(Possible destinations: Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz)
Brandon Bass (2012 Salary: $4,250,000)
A key contributor in the Celtics’ remarkable run to the Eastern Conference Finals this past season, the undersized Bass likely won’t break the bank for an interested team. By all accounts, it looks like Bass wants to remain in Boston and could do so at a home team price, although the additions of Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo to go along with Kevin Garnett re-signing could force Bass to look elsewhere.
(Possible destinations: Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs)
Kenyon Martin (2012 Salary: $2,500,000)
In demand early on in the 2012 season after spending part of the year playing basketball in China, Martin is a free agent after spending a year with the L.A. Clippers. The rugged, 12-year veteran still has basketball left in him and Martin is expected to generate interest for teams looking for bargains on the interior.
(Possible destinations: L.A. Lakers, New York Knicks)
Boris Diaw (2012 Salary: $9,000,000)
After being waived by the Charlotte Bobcats in March, Diaw proved he still had quality basketball left in the tank after becoming a key role player for the San Antonio Spurs to close the season. Diaw’s ability to perform a myriad of duties on the court helped San Antonio reach the Western Conference Finals.
(Possible destinations: San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics)
Marcus Camby (2012 Salary: $12,866,332)
Even though he’s getting up there in age, Camby is still a shot blocking post presence that could give a team a boost for 20-25 minutes a night. The Houston Rockets have asserted that they want the 38-year-old back, but the Mavs could also be in the mix if Camby isn’t interested in remaining in Houston.
(Possible destinations: Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks)
Spencer Hawes (2012 Salary: $4,051,024)
A solid big man with good range, Hawes hits the free agent market this summer after spending the last two seasons in Philadelphia with the 76ers. Big men with the skill and range that Hawes possess are hard to find, but it’s still hard to imagine Hawes making any more than $7 million per year. Miami could be an option if Hawes is willing to take a significant pay cut.
(Possible destinations: Philadelphia 76ers, Miami HEAT, Houston Rockets)
Aaron Gray (2012 Salary: $2,500,000)
Starting 40 games at center last season for the Toronto Raptors, Gray showed he has the ability to make a solid contribution in the post. While not the most mobile or agile player at the center position, Gray is good for some tip-ins around the baskets and decent rebounding numbers for the amount of time he spends on the court, especially for the veteran minimum.
(Possible destinations: New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets)