NBA Saturday: Time to Hit the Bargain Bin
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It’s Time For A Little Bargain Hunting
At this point, the reality with free agency is that most teams’ cap space is either dried up or drying up, so the players who are still hanging around in the free agency pool may not get the kind of money they were hoping for a month or two ago.
Restricted free agents, obviously, have a better shot at getting paid what they’re worth even if their current team is getting low on cap space, so someone like Nikola Pekovic, for example, will still get plenty of money. Brandon Jennings and Gerald Henderson are waiting for their deals, too, but neither one is necessarily going to come cheap.
There are, however a number of solid role players that could be had for very affordable numbers, and here are the best of them, in alphabetical order:
- Alan Anderson, SG – Anderson averaged double-digit points per game last season for the first time in his four-year career, and there were definitely games Toronto won because he was on the roster. Brooklyn showed a little interest before agreeing to terms with Andrei Kirilenko, but the Timberwolves also are apparently interested in Anderson, who is originally from Minnesota.
- DeJuan Blair, PF – Not a lot of buzz on Blair at this point; all that’s been established is that he’s most likely priced out of New York’s range. He averaged 5.4 ppg and 3.8 rpg for the Spurs last season.
- Elton Brand, PF – This is another player that New York showed some interest in to shore up their frontcourt depth, but he’s apparently getting enough interest from other teams that the Knicks no longer believe they’ll be able to afford the former #1 overall pick, according to Jared Zerling of ESPNNewYork.com. No word yet on who those teams are, but they’re clearly willing to pay more than the veteran’s minimum.
- Samuel Dalembert, C – With Devin Harris’s deal with the Dallas Mavericks looking like it will fall through due to medical reasons, the Mavs are likely to turn their attention to Dalembert, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Depth at the center position is perhaps their biggest priority at this point, and Dalembert seems like the most logical fit there. It’s unlikely he’ll cost top dollar, either.
- Antawn Jamison, F – Jamison has been linked to the L.A. Clippers for the better part of the last week, but L.A. is reportedly still deciding between him and Lamar Odom. So far, though, that’s been the best lead for the former All-Star, and it seems like a pretty good one considering all the other moves the Clippers have made this offseason.
- Gary Neal, G – There’s still a strong belief that Gary Neal will re-sign with the San Antonio Spurs, but the Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly still in the running for his services, too. Now that they’ve semi-officially lost Monta Ellis to Dallas, a little more depth at guard would be a huge help for the Bucks. Neal has averaged 9.7 ppg over the course of his career, but his three-point shooting is his calling card. NBA teams are always looking to hire more guys with that particular skill.
- Lamar Odom, F – Even though the Clippers renounced Odom’s rights to sign all their new free agents, they’re still reportedly interested in bringing him back. If L.A. goes with Odom instead, however, he’ll be looking for a new team next season. Whoever gets him, he’ll be coming at a pretty significant discount.
- Nate Robinson, G – Robinson likely played his way into a decent multi-year contract by scoring out of his mind during the 2013 postseason, but it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll get the major payday some thought he’d get after the HEAT series. There haven’t been any really solid leads on interested parties, but someone’s going to sign this guy for scoring punch off the bench. He isn’t likely to get a one-year, league minimum offer again, but a major payday probably isn’t coming at this point, either.
- Mo Williams, G – Assuming the Atlanta Hawks refuse to match Jeff Teague’s offer sheet from Milwaukee, there’s a possibility that Williams could help fill the void left behind by the team’s starting point guard. We do know that Williams won’t re-sign with the Jazz, but where he ends up and how much money he’ll get is still up for grabs.
Metta World Peace and Tyrus Thomas, both recently amnestied, could be added to this list, too, assuming that there are team interested in either player, but other than that it should be pretty clear that the 2013 crop of free agents has pretty much been picked over. The players above represent the best of what’s left, and rest assured that the overwhelming majority of them will be snatched up quickly.
Michael Carter-Williams Embracing Opportunity in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia 76ers took a huge risk this offseason by trading away All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel, which of course puts a lot of pressure on Noel as the future of the franchise, but with all the news that trade made on draft night, it would be easy to forget that Philadelphia almost immediately drafted a new player to take Holiday’s place: Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams.
Carter-Williams recently wrapped up his first Summer League experience in Orlando, and he believes he’s on the right track towards making the Sixers glad they put their faith in him.
“I’m looking forward to [playing for the 76ers],” Carter-Williams said. “I know it’s going to be a learning experience. We’re going to have a lot of new guys, but we’re going to also have some veterans, so we’re going to learn from them and try to bring everything together as a team and do the best we can.”
As for Summer League, he thinks things went well for him and his new teammates.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “I was a little nervous in the beginning and had some careless turnovers. Overall, as a team, we did pretty well. We’re just going to learn from our mistakes.”
He’ll have some time to learn from those mistakes, as the Sixers aren’t in a big hurry to get back into the postseason this year since the 2014 draft class is so excellent, but Carter-Williams understands and appreciates the pressure that’s he’s got on himself.
“It’s part of basketball. If I want to be the player I want to be, then those expectations are going to be there, so it comes with wanting to be great,” he said, adding that the team’s expectations include, “staying in front of the ball, willing the team to win, and doing the best that I can.”
He’s a young player with a lot to learn, but the Sixers are hoping he’s every bit as good as Holiday and perhaps even better. With him and Noel, plus what could be two lottery picks in next summer’s draft, the Sixers are undergoing a risky rebuild that could pay off huge. The meantime, however, is going to be a little rough for Philly fans. If the long-term payoff is big enough, though, that meantime will have been worth it.