NBA PM: Which Free Agents Are Left?
Two weeks into free agency, many of the big dominoes have fallen. Stars such as Deron Williams, Steve Nash and Roy Hibbert made decisions very early, which opened the floodgates for other players to sign. While most of the big names are off the market, there are still plenty of notable players who have yet to sign contracts. Here are some of the best players who are still available:
O.J. Mayo – There were plenty of teams interested in signing Mayo, but his large asking price caused his list of potential suitors to shrink. When free agency started, Mayo’s camp made it clear that they wanted more than the full mid-level exception, which is worth $5 million per season. Upon hearing this, many teams lost interest and opted for cheaper alternatives. The Boston Celtics were in contact with the 24-year-old, but decided to sign Jason Terry instead since he was willing to sign for the mid-level exception. Mayo is still receiving interest from the Phoenix Suns, according to sources. If Phoenix misses out on Eric Gordon, the Suns may turn their attention to Mayo. There are also several teams exploring the possibility of a sign-and-trade to acquire Mayo.
Courtney Lee – The Houston Rockets rescinded their qualifying offer to Lee last week, but the shooting guard may still return to the Rockets. The two sides have been in contact and Houston is interested in re-signing Lee once the dust settles. Right now, the Rockets’ top priority is finding a way to acquire Dwight Howard and signing Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to offer sheets. After those situations work themselves out, the team will try to re-sign Lee. Howard and Lee have remained close since their stint together with the Orlando Magic so the likelihood of Lee re-signing may increase if Houston trades for Howard. With that said, the Rockets have some competition for Lee. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are interested in signing Lee outright while the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have explored potential sign-and-trade scenarios for the shooting guard. Lee is enjoying the free agency process and isn’t in any rush to make a decision. He’ll continue to weigh his options and see how things play out.
JaVale McGee – McGee’s camp continues to negotiate with the Denver Nuggets, who offered him a five-year, $50 million deal. The restricted free agent is weighing his options and he isn’t in any rush to sign a contract since he could get an offer sheet from a team like the Houston Rockets or Portland Trail Blazers if he stays patient. If Houston isn’t able to acquire Dwight Howard or Portland misses out on Roy Hibbert, those teams could turn their attention to McGee and see just how much Denver is willing to pay to keep their center.
Carl Landry – Landry won’t be returning to the New Orleans Hornets. Any chance of Landry re-signing vanished when the Hornets acquired Ryan Anderson in a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic last week. Now, Landry’s camp is talking to a number of teams, including the Golden State Warriors. Last season, the 28-year-old averaged 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 64 games with the Hornets.
Kris Humphries – After being shopped by the Brooklyn Nets and offered in a number of trade scenarios that would have yielded Dwight Howard, Kris Humphries is weighing his options and receiving interest from a number of teams. The Nets want to re-sign Humphries to a three-year deal worth $24 million. The Charlotte Bobcats are also interested in Humphries and they may be willing to amnesty a player in order to free up the necessary cap room to sign the power forward. The Bobcats are reportedly offering a three-year deal worth $22 million.
Aaron Brooks – The Phoenix Suns rescinded Brooks’ qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Brooks met with the Houston Rockets last weekend and there’s mutual interest between the point guard and the team. Brooks spent last season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association. The 27-year-old played well in China, leading Guangdong all the way to the CBA Finals, where he averaged over 30 points per game before losing to Stephon Marbury and the Beijing Ducks. Now, Brooks is excited to return to the NBA. Several teams have been in contact with Brooks, but Houston is looking like the frontrunner to sign him.
Antawn Jamison – Jamison has received interest from a number of teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats. The Brooklyn Nets have also explored the possibility of a sign-and-trade for the 36-year-old. Last year, Jamison averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 65 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Grant Hill – Hill wants to join a contender and he’s considering the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami HEAT, Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets, according to sources close to the situation. Hill wants to compete for a championship next season. If he can’t reach an agreement with one of the contenders on his list, he’ll likely retire.
Greg Oden – After originally saying that he would sit out the 2012-13 season to train in Columbus, Oden has since changed his tune. He wants to sign with a team this offseason and attempt to resume his NBA career in the coming months. If healthy, Oden could be a low-risk, high-reward signing. Oden’s camp continues to mention the Miami HEAT as a possible suitor, which makes sense since the HEAT wouldn’t need him to contribute right away and they have shown that they’re willing to take on projects.
C.J. Watson – The Chicago Bulls didn’t guarantee the final year of Watson’s contract, officially waiving him three days ago. Chicago decided to sign Kirk Hinrich rather than bring back Watson and now he can be claimed off of waivers until 5 p.m. on Friday. If he goes unclaimed, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. A number of teams have already contacted Watson’s camp to express interest in the 28-year-old. Last season, Watson started 25 games for the Bulls, averaging 11.3 points and 4.6 assists. If he’s not claimed off of waivers, he’ll have a list of potential suitors when he becomes a free agent.
Ronnie Brewer – Like Watson, the Bulls decided not to guarantee the final year of Brewer’s deal, waiving him on Tuesday evening. Brewer has drawn interest from several teams, according to sources. The 27-year-old displayed his versatility last season, starting games at guard and forward when Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng were sidelined. In 43 games as a starter with the Bulls, Brewer averaged 7.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals. If Brewer isn’t claimed off of waivers, a number of contenders will be looking to sign him since he can play multiple positions and defend the perimeter.
All-Orlando Summer League Team: After spending the last week in Florida watching the Orlando Summer League, HOOPSWORLD is now in Nevada to take in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Before we move on to the 24 teams competing in Vegas, here are some of the players who stood out in Orlando. These are the players who were named to the All-Summer League team in Orlando:
First-Team: Alec Burks (Jazz), Lance Stephenson (Pacers), Austin Daye (Pistons), Miles Plumlee (Pacers) and Andrew Nicholson (Magic).
Second-Team: Reggie Jackson (Thunder), Brandon Knight (Pistons), Lazar Hayward (Thunder), Jared Sullinger (Celtics) and Kyle O’Quinn (Magic).
Honorable Mention: Kim English (Pistons), E’Twaun Moore (Celtics), Dionte Christmas (Celtics), Enes Kanter (Jazz), Jeremy Evans (Jazz), Jacob Pullen (76ers), Justin Holiday (76ers), Justin Harper (Magic), Maalik Wayns (Magic), Tyshawn Taylor (Nets) and Al Thornton (Nets).
O’Quinn Impresses in Orlando: Kyle O’Quinn was one of the pleasant surprises of the Orlando Summer League, outplaying many of the players selected ahead of him on draft night. O’Quinn, who was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 49th overall pick, got the better of Andre Drummond in one game and averaged 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds over the course of the week. O’Quinn was named to the All-Orlando Summer League Second Team by members of the media and team personnel. HOOPSWORLD’s Steve Kyler caught up with O’Quinn in Orlando.