NBA PM: Which Free Agents Are Left?
The 2012-13 NBA season is more than one month old, but there are still plenty of notable free agents who have yet to sign. By now, the free agent pool has usually dried up, but that’s not the case this year. There are still some talented veterans on the market who have proven that they can make an impact on an NBA team.
Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Mickael Pietrus and Derek Fisher were unemployed when the season started, but they’ve all been signed in recent weeks and had success with their new teams.
Which free agents will be the next to sign? Many of the remaining free agents have turned down offers from overseas teams because they’re waiting for an NBA team to call. As injuries and transactions occur over the next few months, expect some of these players to sign a prorated contract with an NBA team.
Here is the position-by-position by list of remaining free agents:
POINT GUARDS: Delonte West, Earl Boykins, Mike Bibby, Mike James, Carlos Arroyo, Anthony Carter, Baron Davis, Antonio Daniels, Jannero Pargo
There are a number of quality point guards still available. Delonte West is the most talented, but he comes with some baggage. The Dallas Mavericks waived him earlier in the season and decided to sign Derek Fisher instead. Earl Boykins, Mike Bibby, Mike James, Anthony Carter, Antonio Daniels and Jannero Pargo are reliable veterans who can still contribute off of the bench. Baron Davis is trying to recover after undergoing surgery to repair the torn ACL, MCL and patellar tendon in his right knee. He has made it clear that he wants to return to the NBA, but it’s unclear if he’ll be back this season.
SHOOTING GUARDS: Maurice Evans, Michael Redd, Matt Carroll, Rodney Carney, Flip Murray, Kelenna Azubuike, Bill Walker
Even though Mickael Pietrus and Leandro Barbosa have been snatched up, there are still several talented shooting guards available. Maurice Evans and Michael Redd may be the next free agents to sign. Both players have received interest from NBA teams, but neither has been willing to settle for a nonguaranteed deal. Matt Carroll was with the Charlotte Bobcats at the beginning of the season, but was bought out after being traded to the New Orleans Hornets. Flip Murray is trying to make an NBA comeback after last playing for the Memphis Grizzlies during this year’s preseason. Journeymen such as Rodney Carney, Kelenna Azubuike and Bill Walker are available as well.
SMALL FORWARDS: Quentin Richardson, Joey Graham, Donte Greene, Shawne Williams, Bobby Simmons, Renaldo Balkman, Adam Morrison
Josh Howard was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but there are still several experienced wings on the market. Quentin Richardson started the season with the Orlando Magic, but was waived prior to the start of the regular season. Richardson has received interest from several teams and he’s expected to be signed at some point this season. Joey Graham, Donte Greene, Shawne Williams, Bobby Simmons, Renaldo Balkman and Adam Morrison round out the list of available small forwards.
POWER FORWARDS: Kenyon Martin, Josh Powell, Jordan Williams, Juwan Howard, Francisco Elson, Brian Cardinal, Brian Cook, Darnell Jackson, Antonio McDyess, Sean Williams
Kenyon Martin is probably the most talented unsigned player. Last season, he averaged 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 22.2 minutes in 42 games with the Los Angeles Clippers, helping the team advance to the second round of the playoffs. Martin turned down several overseas offers and he’ll likely be signed by an NBA team at some point. Josh Powell, Francisco Elson, Brian Cook and Darnell Jackson have bounced around the league, but are serviceable big men who are still available. Antonio McDyess wants to come out of retirement and sign with an NBA team, while veterans such as Juwan Howard and Brian Cardinal are hoping to put off retirement for at least one more year by inking a contract with a team.
CENTERS: Ben Wallace, Chris Andersen, Kyrylo Fesenko, Erick Dampier, Greg Oden, Dan Gadzuric, Tony Battie, Hassan Whiteside
Ben Wallace, Erick Dampier, Dan Gadzuric and Tony Battie are among the veteran centers who are available to play sparingly and mentor young big men. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kyrylo Fesenko, 25, and Hassan Whiteside, 23, still have plenty of potential and could be worth taking a flyer on. The Denver Nuggets used the amnesty clause on Chris Andersen over the offseason and he hasn’t been able to find a suitor with his off-court issues. Greg Oden may be the most intriguing name on this list. He hasn’t played since the 2009-10 season, but he’s hoping to get healthy and resume his NBA career. Oden has said that he wants to play this season, but his injury status is up in the air.
Would you like your favorite team to sign one of these players? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Curry Heading to China
Eddy Curry has signed with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to sources close to the situation. Curry’s flight to China left this evening and he will play with Zhejiang for the remainder of the CBA season. When he returns from China, he’ll be a playoff-eligible and will try to sign with an NBA team.
Curry will be playing with former NBA player Josh Boone on the Golden Bulls, which is the same team that J.R. Smith played for last year during the NBA lockout.
Prior to signing with Zhejiang, Curry played well with the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks this season.
Curry is the latest NBA veteran to sign with a CBA team, joining Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, Al Thornton, Von Wafer, Rashad McCants, Lester Hudson, Stephen Graham, Sundiata Gaines, Gary Forbes, Ike Diogu and Stephon Marbury among others.
Zhejiang is currently 2-2 and in eighth place in the CBA. Over the course of his 10-year NBA career, Curry has averaged 12.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Henson Adjusting to NBA
The Milwaukee Bucks selected John Henson with the 14th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and the 6’11 rookie has emerged as a significant contributor in recent weeks. Henson’s minutes have been increasing recently and he’s making the most of the opportunity.
Henson had 10 points and two blocks in eight minutes against the Indiana Pacers. One week later, Henson had his best game of the season, finishing with 17 points and 18 rebounds against the Miami HEAT. Now, he’s getting double-digit minutes on a nightly basis and he’s playing well off of the bench.
The Bucks have a number of talented big men such as Samuel Dalembert, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders, which has taken pressure off of Henson, who admits he’s still a work in progress.
“I’m learning a lot, just how to play and where to be,” Henson told HOOPSWORLD “It’s just games, after games. I’m trying to get better every day.
“I’d say I’m starting to find my way, but I still have a long ways to go. I’m still figuring out the game. I’ve been thinking out there a lot instead of just doing. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do instead of just being there and doing it. It’ll come though.”
With repetition and experience, Henson is getting more comfortable and emerging as a difference maker for the Bucks.
“I’m just going out there every day, playing and figuring out what [I] can and can’t do at this level,” Henson said. “I’m still feeling my way out there, but I feel like I’m making progress.”
Henson has noticed that he can’t sneak up on teams and surprise them. He’s on the scouting report and everyone knows his strengths and weaknesses. Opposing players have also watched plenty of tape so they know what he’s going to do before he does it, such as setting up the offense with a dribble handoff.
“Teams are jumping at what they see as, especially the dribble handoff,” Henson said. “I’m not necessarily a threat, but what we want to do is a dribble handoff to get into the offense and teams see stuff like that. We just got to watch tape, try to figure it out and keep going.
“You notice what other teams are doing too. They counter what we do. Obviously, we have Monta [Ellis] and Brandon [Jenning], so those are our go-to guys. Teams are countering to stop that, and then we need to counter that to get those guys easier shots. They’re taking a lot of tough shots just because teams are keying in on them.”
The knock on Henson coming out of North Carolina was his skinny frame. Some executives weren’t sure if he’d be able to match up against NBA bigs without bulking up. However, the 220-pound Henson hasn’t had any issues early on.
“I think I’m holding my own,” Henson said. “I’m not getting thrown around or anything. I’m just trying to figure it out every day and get better.”
Not only is Henson making progress, he’s making an impact for the Bucks. He’ll only continue to get better as his minutes increase and as he gets more comfortable with the NBA game.