As the calendar turns to August, international basketball junkies (such as your truly, as well as our Chris Sheridan) have their sights set squarely on the FIBA Americas tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. The tournament tips off on August 30 and will feature a pool loaded with talent.
And while thoughts of international basketball run rampant in the minds of some, many across the NBA are already thinking about July 2014.
Paul George is the latest to be asked questions about potentially signing an offer sheet with the Los Angeles Lakers while some New York Knicks fans are quietly wondering whether or not Carmelo Anthony is worth the maximum five-year, $135 million contract he will be eligible to sign next summer to remain in Gotham.
It is almost as though the Summer of 2013 had ended … only it has not.
In years past, by the time August rolled around, the top free agents were off of the market. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, our top two—Nikola Pekovic and Brandon Jennings—are still unsigned. All the while, many of the smaller dominoes around them continue to fall.
One of our personal favorites, Gary Neal of the San Antonio Spurs, will become an unrestricted free agent after the Spurs brass decided to revoke his $1.1 million qualifying offer.
After seeing Nate Robinson agree to take his talents to Denver to play for the new-look Nuggets, we tend to believe that Neal’s market value is somewhere in the same stratosphere as what Robinson signed for in Denver: two-years, $4 million.
And while Kyrie Irving has begun fielding questions and concerns about whether or not he plans to remain a Cleveland Cavalier for the long haul, reader beware: the Cavaliers are amongst this offseason’s biggest winners—having hauled in a catch featuring Jarrett Jack, Andrew Bynum, first overall draft pick Anthony Bennett and Earl Clark.
Clark, it should be remembered, signed with the Cavaliers for two years and $9 million.
Brandan Wright, on the other hand, has agreed to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks—a team that also made some wholesale changes.
Mark Cuban agreed to pay Wright a guaranteed $10 million over two years, while Wright has the ability to earn an additional $1.1 million in incentives. Wright is actually coming off of a career-best season in which he scored 8.1 points and grabbed 4.1 rebounds per game. He will rejoin the new-look Mavs, who also signed Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Samuel Dalembert, Gal Mekel, and Wayne Ellington.
Wright did not make the cut in our rankings, but the Mavs had his “early” Bird rights and opted to re-sign him to what amounts to a mid-level exception type deal.
Now finally, Greg Oden.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Oden has six teams in his mix—the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, and the Mavs.
Oden was enjoying the sights of South Beach back during the NBA Finals, fueling speculation that he would sign with the Heat, but that was before the Pelicans got creative with their salary cap and opened up $3 million for the big guy.
While we wait for resolutions on Pekovic and Jennings and wait for Lamar Odom to determine whether he is playing or not and for a team or two to throw some money at Beno Udrih—Oden’s comeback attempt is as interesting as it is inspiring.
It is there that the free agency focus shall shift for the foreseeable future.
Here are the updated rankings…