11. Aaron Brooks (Point Guard, Houston Rockets)
It really was not that long ago that Brooks was one of the league’s more productive starting point guards. In 2009-10, he started all 82 games for the Houston Rockets and averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists per game. Since then, his minutes have steadily decreased and he has had utterly forgettable tenures in Phoenix and Sacramento and and a bad second stint in H-Town. The Rockets waived the still productive 28-year old and made him an unrestricted free agent. Easily one of the top value guys on the market.
Even the epic playoff run that Nate put together against the likes of the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat could not help the little guy get paid. But as we have said time and time again, that is simply life in the NBA. Robinson averaged 16.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in last season’s playoffs. Personally, we think he brings more to the table than a lot of guys who have already been signed, but it’s no secret that Nate’s personality wears on those who interact with him regularly. Showed he can actually run an offense with the Bulls last season, and that increases his NBA value. JULY 14 UPDATE — Robinson is almost certain to not be wearing a Bulls uniform next season. A number of teams have registered interest in him, including the New York Knicks, but as of right now, the Denver Nuggets are the team hot on his trail. JULY 16 UPDATE — There are teams out there interested in Robinson, but the major holdup, we’re told, is that he is looking for a multiyear deal at more than the veteran’s minimum. It’s a surprise that he cannot receive such an offer.
One of our favorite sharpshooters in the league is not expected to be retained by the San Antonio Spurs. Like Chris Copeland, Neal is an older-than-usual restricted free agent, but unlike Copeland, has a healthy sample size that should yield a decent payday for him. The Spurs signing Marco Belinelli is no surprise. Word is, the Spurs brass did not believe they could afford to match the offer they are expecting Neal to get on the open market. Do not dismiss the possibility of him returning to San Antonio on the one-year qualifying offer, but it is not likely. JULY 14 UPDATE — The Spurs are not a team to bid against themselves. The standoff between Neal and the franchise is mainly over what Neal’s fair market value is and whether the Spurs want to match what he may find on the open market. A return to San Antonio is possible at this point, but Neal and his reps. are being patient.
After losing out on Tiago Splitter and presumably not having a shot at Nikola Pekovic, it is looking like Dalembert makes the most sense for the Trail Blazers, who came into the season as one of the teams in desperate need for a center. Dalembert was previously linked to the Miami Heat, but with Chris Andersen re-signing, that may not be an option if Dalembert is looking for more than a minimum salary. He is, and the Trail Blazers can offer him more. JULY 11 UPDATE — Dalembert is receiving some interest from the Dallas Mavericks, according to some reports. JULY 12 UPDATE — Dalembert was being heavily courted by the Dallas Mavericks before the club came to terms with Monta Ellis on a three-year deal. It is not known (yet) whether Ellis’s acquisition has any effect on the club’s pursuit of Dalembert. JULY 14 UPDATE — Dalembert will likely sign with the Mavericks, as both sides are optimistic that a deal will be reached. The question is when and for how much. After rescinding its offer to Devin Harris based on a failed physical, the Mavericks have about $3 million in cap space to further help facilitate a deal. JULY 16 UPDATE — Now that Elton Brand is officially off the market, we believe the question is not “if,” for Dalembert officially joining the Dallas Mavericks, but more like “when.” The team has a serious dearth of big men and may need one more than even the Portland Trailblazers, though the latter did lose J.J. Hickson to the Denver Nuggets. JULY 17 UPDATE — The Mavericks not only want Dalembert, the team is also very serious about signing free agent Greg Oden, as well.
Beaubois showed some flashes as a rookie, but at this point, his inability to stay healthy has severely diminished his market value and his ability to earn a big payday at the NBA level. Beaubois is still just 25 years old, but the Mavericks signing of Israeli point guard Gal Mekel—who ranked as our No. 37 free agent— likely signifies the end of Beaubois’ playing time in Dallas. He is unrestricted after not receiving a one-year qualifying offer from Mark Cuban’s team. JULY 14 UPDATE — After bringing Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis in, Beaubois will not be back with the Mavericks, per Donnie Nelson.
Barely got burn for the 76ers, but most GMs know he can score the ball. Showed some flashes with Washington and the LA Clippers but will be looking for a fourth team in as many years. That is usually a red flag for GMs around the league. Young still has some upside but will not be cashing a huge check this year. He still provides value as a potential scorer off the bench, but he is one-dimensional. JULY 11 UPDATE — Young has agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Lakers, whose overhaul continues after losing Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets. Terms of Young’s deal were not immediately available, but he will be running with Steve Nash next season.
17. Elton Brand (Power Forward, Dallas Mavericks)
From what we hear, Brand is simply in no rush to sign with any team. The Bulls, Cavaliers, Lakers and Knicks are interested, with the word being that the Knicks are making the most serious push for him. Brand is reportedly looking for more than the $1.7 million the Knicks can offer him, though. Certainly not the same player he once was, Brand still has timing and his midrange touch—two valuable assets for the 34-year old who played just 22 minutes per game last season with the Dallas Mavericks. JULY 10 UPDATE — According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks have been told that they are no longer under consideration for Brand’s services. JULY 14 UPDATE — After Nikola Pekovic and Samuel Dalembert—both of whom are close to being taken off the market—Brand is a hot commodity. Still not ready to commit to a team, yet, though. JULY 16 UPDATE — Brand has agreed to join the Atlanta Hawks on a one-year deal worth $4 million. The decision to go play in Atlanta was a bit of a surprise since Brand allegedly wanted to play for a contender, but the $4 million payday makes the decision understandable. That’s almost three-times what his veteran’s minimum deal would have been worth.
18. Beno Udrih (Point Guard, Orlando Magic)
Though unheralded, Udrih has been a fairly solid point guard for his entire career. Last season, as a member of the Orlando Magic, Udrih, after being dealt in the J.J. Redick trade, averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 assists over 27 games for the Magic. That included starting the final nine games of the season, where his averages jumped up to 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists. On a minimum deal, Udrih is a steal. JULY 14 UPDATE — All we know about Udrih, at this point, is that he will not be re-signed by the Orlando Magic and he is probably one of the more underrated prospects on the market.
Mr. Kardashian is probably headed back to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the reunion makes all the sense in the world. Odom played his best basketball as Kobe Bryant’s running mate, and after the defection of Dwight and the amnestying of Metta World Peace, the Lakers need bodies and they need them for cheap. It will be a long year for Lakers fans, but with Chris Kaman on board and Odom potentially following, Bryant will at least have a few familiar faces flanking him. If things do not work out with the Lakers, the Clippers and Knicks could also make sense for Odom, who is probably a minimum player at this stage of his career. JULY 16 UPDATE — As with Kenyon Martin (see below), Elton Brand’s $4 million deal with the Hawks could make Odom feel as though his market value is in the same stratosphere. The bodes negatively for the Los Angeles Lakers, if true. The Lakers can only offer Odom a veteran’s minimum deal of just less than $1.5 million.
20. Greg Stiemsma (Center, Minnesota Timberwolves)
Stiemsma had his moments as a member of the Boston Celtics back during the 2011-12 season and got a two-year, $5.27 million deal from the Timberwolves, but only the first year was guaranteed. After a busy offseason that included signing Kevin Martin, re-signing Chase Budinger and attempting to hang onto Nikola Pekovic, Stiemsma was waived by the Timberwolves. At just 27 years old, Stiemsma still has plenty of upside. His per-36 minute averages after two seasons? 8.5 points and 8.1 rebounds. JULY 10 UPDATE — Stiemsma has agreed to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans on a one-year deal worth $2.7 million.