July 23, 2012
By Luka Papalko
With the NBA Free Agent feeding frenzy coming to a slow, this is now the time when teams start looking for players who could be potential bargains. Most players by now have found a home and most teams have filled their primary needs during the off-season. With that said, here is the best of who is still unsigned.
1. Andrei Kirilenko – after playing last year over in Russia, Kirilenko is looking to come back to the NBA if the opportunity is right. He is still under contract with CSKA Moscow but is able to opt-out if he chooses. It was originally thought he would sign with the Brooklyn Nets but that never came to fruition. While not the All-Star caliber player he once was, Kirilenko can still be a very good piece to a contending team.
2. Carl Landry – Landry has been underrated for much of his NBA career but has produced wherever he has gone. Despite being undersized for the 4 spot, Landry has been a very good big man to bring off the bench because of his scoring and efficiency. Right now in the prime of his career, Landry still has many more productive years left.
3. Andray Blatche – relatively new to the free agent market, Blatche was designated as the Washington Wizard’s amnesty player. The Wizards decided that his production last year, statistically one of his worst, wasn’t worth the trouble that came with Blatche. The problem has never been his talent or even production but rather the off-court issues, consistency and overall professionalism. Very few teams will put up with Blatche but one will take a chance because of his talent and age.
4. Robin Lopez (RFA) – Lopez had a good year last year but hasn’t been able to generate much interest because of his restricted tag. Teams always like young bigs with size but the Suns seem willing to match any reasonable offer. And for Lopez, no team is going to break the bank for what looks like a center that has leveled off as a backup center.
5. Brandon Rush (RFA) – after being traded to Golden State last year, Rush experienced a very productive season coming off the bench. Rush is a good shooter and defender, which will always have a place on a NBA roster. The problem for Rush is, like Lopez, he is restricted which has limited the market for him.
6. Delonte West – one of the more unique players in the NBA, the talented combo guard is still trying to find a home after an injury plagued 2011-2012 season. West can be a valuable asset for another contending team but concerns about his mental health has teams in a holding pattern for now.
7. Randy Foye – injuries in Los Angeles gave Foye the opportunity to step into a larger role, after being relegated to a smaller role earlier in the season. Foye showed he could still score the ball and be a versatile contributor off the bench. The problem for Foye is finding a team that can fit an undersized combo-guard on their team.
8. Leandro Barbosa – facing a similar problem for Foye, there isn’t a huge market for undersized combo-guards even if they’re good at what they do. Since leaving the Phoenix system, Barbosa has been successful but hasn’t been the same Brazilian Blur that most NBA fans were accustomed to. He’s a good veteran in the locker room and his ability to change games off the bench will find him a spot sooner rather than later.
9. CJ Miles – despite being a 7-year veteran in the NBA, Miles just turned 25 years old this March. Miles has come a long way since coming out of high school and has turned into a productive role player. He had a down year last year but still has some value as a scoring wing off the bench with some growth still left.
10. Ronnie Brewer – Brewer is another newer addition to the free agent market after the Chicago Bulls decline to pick up his option for the ’12-’13 season. He is entering the prime of his career and has always been a good energy player. He is still an elite wing defender, which is attractive to any team. His lack of a jump shot is a weakness but teams could do much worse for a wing player coming off the bench.
11. Carlos Delfino – one of the more inconsistent players in the NBA, Delfino looks like a legit starter one night and then an end-of-the-bench player the next. He’s always been a solid defender and a good scorer, despite being inefficient. For a team looking for a spark off the bench, Delfino could provide that.
12. Alonzo Gee (RFA) – after being a relative unknown and bouncing around the league as a 10-day contract player, Gee found a home in Cleveland last year. He had a breakout year after being given consistent, showing his excellent athleticism, solid defense and improve jump shot. His limited history and restricted free agent tag has slowed his interest. Ultimately, he’ll likely be back with the Cavs for at least this upcoming season.
13. Mickael Pietrus - another maddeningly inconsistent player, Pietrus has found a home on NBA rosters thanks to his one-on-one perimeter defense and 3-point shot. Teams will likely wait on Pietrus until they get full assurance that he is okay medically perform. He should find his way onto a playoff team’s roster.
14. Kenyon Martin – playing the beginning of the year in China, he was able to sign on with the Clippers in early February. Martin was still able to give the Clippers productive minutes but he at times looked like a shell of his former self. He can still help a team and be a good contributor coming off the bench as a 4th big man.
15. Martell Webster – he is another late addition to the free agent market, as the Timberwolves recently bought him out. Similar to CJ Miles, Webster is a 7-year veteran in the NBA but will only turn 26 this year. He hasn’t quite developed into the player most thought he would coming out of high school but there’s still a little bit of time for him left. And as most know, there’s always room for shooters on a roster.