The “Dwecision” has already taken over that basketball public’s imagination. And Dwight Howard is bringing Chris Paul along for the ride.
It is late August. Everyone is on vacation. The NBA is quiet as a churchmouse. If you want to watch live basketball, you have to settle for Eurobasket qualifying and familiarize yourself with the likes of Iceland, Belgium, Belarus and Ukraine.
Not much to do except look back over the past six weeks and cast judgment on all 30 NBA teams for their offseason moves.
And lordy, lordy, there have been a ton of them.
But there comes a time when you have to wrap it all up in one nice, tidy package, and now is that time. So without further ado, here are our Summer of 2012 report cards for every NBA team:
ATLANTA HAWKS – When you have gotten rid of the worst contract in the NBA, as Danny Ferry did by trading Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets, you have to be somewhat lauded. Of all the players acquired in that deal, only Anthony Morrow figures to contribute. The moves we liked most were the signings of Lou Williams and the trade for Kyle Korver, and it should be noted that Al Horford may be the best center in the East now that Dwight Howard is gone. (Andrew Bynum might disagree). Ferry could have as much as $30 million in cap space next summer, and he’ll probably get a meeting (at the very least) with Howard after D-12′s contract expires. Al Jefferson would not be a bad fallback. Probably still a middle-of-the-pack team, but possibly better than that with more depth (don’t forget Devin Harris) and more shot opportunities now that Johnson’s 15-20 per night are gone. More analysis here.
BOSTON CELTICS – All of the hand-wringing over the loss of Ray Allen seems a little disingenuous. This is a guy who was moved to the bench in favor of Avery Bradley after the All-Star break, a guy who went AWOL in more playoff games than he went ballistic, and a guy they were ready to trade to Memphis at mid-season. (Allen actually got a call from Doc Rivers telling him the deal was done, then another call from Rivers saying “never mind.”) Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will easily replace his offensive production, the draft was a home run (Feb Melo and Jared Sullinger), Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will both likely retire as Celtics, and Jeff Green is back (the jury is still out on him, but perhaps Ainge wanted to justify the Kendrick Perkins trade by giving Brandon Bass’ backup $36 million over four years). Unless Melo is ready to be an instant contributor, they could still use a center other than Jason Collins — although Garnett proved mighty adept at manning that position in the playoffs. More analysis here.
Grade: A -
BROOKLYN NETS – It wasn’t for a lack of effort that they missed out on Dwight Howard, but the fact remains that they did – and they have to live with Brook Lopez as their max-contract center for the next four years. The big question will be what they get out of Joe Johnson, whose scoring and field goal percentage both have dropped since he signed his max contract during the mad summer of 2010. We are not all that convinced that they are going to get major contributions from new bench players Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Evans and are more of the school of thought that Mirza Teletovic, MarShon Brooks and C.J. Watson will end up being more important contributors. Our man Mitnick in Tel Aviv is very high on Teletovic, not so much so on big man Tornike Shengelia. All in all, they will be better than last year’s train wreck. But we’re not drinking the black-and-white Kool-Aid just yet. This looks to me like a 45-48 win team. More analysis here.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS – The worst team in NBA history takes a 23-game losing streak into the new season, just three shy of the record of 26 set by the post-LeBron Cavs of two years ago. (They open with the Pacers, Mavs and Suns before setting the record Friday, Nov. 6 at New Orleans). We wish rookie coach Mike Dunlap all the best, but he is in for a looooong season. Newcomers include Brendan Haywood (yes, they actually claimed him off amnesty waivers, pairing him with DeSagana Diop as the two most useless centers anywhere in the NBA), Ramon Sessions (not a better player than the guy he is replacing, D.J. Augustin), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ben Gordon (their one nice pickup as they dumped Corey Maggette for him). This team will be lucky to win 15 games. More analysis here.
CHICAGO BULLS – Derrick Rose is not expected back until midseason, and C.J. Watson is no longer around to carry the load. Omer Asik, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer are gone from the bench, too, and we shall soon learn whether Kirk Hinrich is still an NBA-caliber starting point guard or whether he went over the hill during his exile following his previous stint with Chicago. Marco Belinelli is probably an upgrade over Korver, who never lived up to his contract after the Bulls signed him away from Utah. But that offseason acquisition is the only one we like. Nazr Mohammed is no more than an insurance policy in case Joakim Noah gets hurt, Nate Robinson is a knucklehead, and Vladimir Radmanovic has no business being in the NBA anymore. That being said, if they tread water until Rose returns, they are going to be a tough out in the first round of the playoffs. They did, after all, lead the NBA last season with 50 wins (tied with Spurs) despite missing Rose and Richard Hamilton for long stretches. If Danny Ferry could move Joe Johnson, perhaps Gar Forman can move Carlos Boozer to make room for Taj Gibson. More analysis here.
Grade: C -
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – It’ll be good to see Kyrie Iving and Anderson Varejao playing together again. Few outside of Cleveland noticed, but the Cavs were a very entertaining team to watch last season when those two were healthy together. GM Chris Grant pulled out of the multi-team Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum trade talks when it became clear that Bynum would not be interested in signing long-term, meaning that Grant’s biggest offseason move (aside from drafting the brash Dion Waiters) were signing C.J. Miles to chuck 3-pointers and claiming Jon Leuer off waivers to serve as Varajeo’s replacement if (when?) the Brazilian gets hurt. Gonna have a tough time competing in a loaded conference, but DO NOT underestimate Irving. In case you have forgotten, he was the best point guard in Team USA camp. Also, the Cavs still have money to spend on the free agency scrapheap, and they could use a veteran or two. More analysis here.
Grade: C -
With the opening of training camps in late September, there is now more offseason behind us rather than in front of us.
With six weeks to go, many teams are looking to fill the final spot or two on their rosters. And as we pointed out last week, there is not much to choose from.
Although there has been talk about some of these teams possibly adding another player, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana, the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis, New York, Oklahoma City and Phoenix appear to be done and ready to start the season.
Dallas, Detroit and Oklahoma City have 15 players with guaranteed contracts. Chicago, the Lakers and New York are over the luxury tax and Memphis is right against it. And Golden State, Indiana and Phoenix appear to have the roster flexibility to stand pat.
That leaves 20 teams – two-thirds of the league – who need at least one specific player to round out their roster. In our estimation, both Cleveland and New Orleans have multiple holes to fill.
With the gradual trend toward small ball, perhaps we are overreacting a bit. But the greatest positions of need appear to be the big spots of power forward and center. Fifteen teams – half the league – seem to have a roster that is short one big man. One of those teams is the defending champion Miami Heat.
So what does each team need? Let’s take a look.
Who needs a small forward?
ATLANTA: Moving Marvin Williams made financial sense, but it left the Hawks short at the 3-spot. Yes, Josh Smith can play there – and will, alongside Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. But he is more effective at power forward, and his backup is shooting savant Kyle Korver, who has trouble defending the wing.
BOSTON: The Celtics have had a terrific offseason but need some insurance behind Paul Pierce, who turns 35 in October. Bringing back Jeff Green, who can play both forward spots, alleviates part of the problem. But the C’s need a true small forward. Hmmn, perhaps Mickael Pietrus?
CLEVELAND: This is one of two positions at which the Cavaliers need depth. Right now, their small forwards are Omri Casspi and C.J. Miles, who is expected to play some at shooting guard as well. They made a $2.7 million qualifying offer to Alonzo Gee, who averaged double figures last season and is finally getting attention from other teams.
NEW ORLEANS: The Hornets’ current small forwards are Al-Farouq Aminu and rookie Darius Miller. Yes, Ryan Anderson can and will play there alongside Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez in a big format. But he is too slow to defend that position. Bringing back Lance Thomas is an option.
Who needs a power forward?
CHARLOTTE: The Bobcats don’t seem interested in bringing back D.J. White, which leaves them with a power forward tandem of the inconsistent Tyrus Thomas and the learning-on-the-job Bismack Biyombo. With a center trio of perimeter-based B.J. Mullens and the foul-prone Brendan Haywood and DeSagana Diop, they could probably use a thug as a third power forward.
LA CLIPPERS: We have said throughout the offseason that the moves made by the Clippers have given them the best top 10 of any NBA roster. But their personnel shuffle cleared out Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans, and LA could use someone behind the injury-prone Blake Griffin and the slender Lamar Odom. Trey Thompkins is not the answer. Maybe the underutilized Ronny Turiaf is.
MINNESOTA: Yes, Kevin Love is penciled in for 40 minutes every night. Behind him, however, are combo forwards Derrick Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, neither of whom throw a scare into anyone underneath the basket. What the Wolves really need is a guy who can play both big spots, backing up centers Nikola Pecovic and Greg Steimsma in an emergency.
PHILADELPHIA: No team got bigger in the offseason than the 76ers. Unfortunately, all of the monsters they added or re-signed – Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen – are centers. They can play a pair side by side, but that will make them a bit slow down low. And given the injury histories of Bynum, Brown and Hawes, Philadelphia could use a true power forward.
TORONTO: You could argue that the Raptors need a center more than a power forward because their long-term look seems to be Andrea Bargnani at center and Jonas Valanciunas at power forward, where Ed Davis is the backup and needs to play. But Toronto may start the season with Bargnani at the 4 and Amir Johnson and Aaron Gray sharing the 5. Whatevere the case, the Raps need another big.
UTAH: C’mon, the Jazz don’t need a power forward! Up front, they’ve got Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and … that’s it, folks. Marvin Williams can play the 4 in a small alignment, but Utah has no 7-footers and clearly needs another power forward.
Who needs a center?
BROOKLYN: Retaining Brook Lopez was a nice consolation prize to losing Dwight Howard, especially given what the Nets have put around their center. But he needs a backup, and after striking out on Nazr Mohammed, Brooklyn has to have a second center because none of its power forwards are big enough to man the pivot.
CLEVELAND: This is the other position the Cavs need to fill. Right now, their centers are rookies Tyler Zeller and Micheal Eric and undersized incumbent Anderson Varejao, who figures to play some at power forward as well. If they add a pivot, they should try to find a veteran.
HOUSTON: The Rockets didn’t get Dwight Howard but they did land Omer Asik, who has averaged 13 minutes per game in his career. His backup appears to be rookie stringbean Donatas Motiejunas. But Houston has a problem because it has the maximum 20 players on its offseason roster.
MIAMI: Many believe the Heat can repeat having added defense-stretchers Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the mix. But they still have a huge hole in the middle that Joel Anthony, Dexter Pittman and rookie Justin Hamilton are not going to effectively fill. With Roy Hibbert, Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard as potential playoff foes, Miami needs a center who can walk and chew gum at the same time.
NEW ORLEANS: Top overall pick Anthony Davis will play both big spots throughout his career. But his athleticism and activity likely will be maximized at power forward alongside Robin Lopez, whom we’re not sure is a 36-minute center. The addition of a small forward would help Ryan Anderson play more at the 4, and Hakim Warrick also is here. But the Hornets desperately need another true center; they just don’t have enough size.
PORTLAND: The potential plan is to start two rookies – Damian Lillard at point guard and Meyers Leonard at center. LaMarcus Aldridge and Eurobig rookie Joel Freeland can play the middle in a pinch, but the Blazers need another real center, and preferably a veteran. To add one, Portland could dump Sasha Pavlovic, whose salary is being paid by Boston.
SACRAMENTO: DeMarcus Cousins is a top-three center whose skills also allow him to play power forward, where the Kings are set with Jason Thompson and rookie Thomas Robinson. The backup center is 6-6 Chuck Hayes, whose big heart disappeared as soon as he got a big contract. Sacramento needs a true pivot, and it would help if he had some veteran leadership for this bunch of young bigs.
SAN ANTONIO: The Spurs don’t often play two true bigs together, but when they do, the best tandem is Tim Duncan at power forward and Tiago Splitter at center. San Antonio’s other “big men” are perimeter-based Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner and undersized center DeJuan Blair, who is on the trading block. The Spurs have a roster spot and should use it on a true center.
Who needs a shooting guard?
DENVER: Yes, the Nuggets just acquired All-Star Andre Iguodala to play shooting guard. But shooting is not one of his stronger skills, and his backups are the equally off-target Corey Brewer and rookie Evan Fournier. Denver needs another knockdown guy to take the heat off Danilo Gallinari.
MILWAUKEE: Although Monta Ellis is routinely among the league leaders in minutes played, his backup right now is rookie Doron Lamb. The Bucks let Carlos Delfino walk away and need to replace him with a veteran who can stroke it a little. Milwaukee could give some shooting guard minutes to Mike Dunleavy, but that’s not the best answer.
Who needs a point guard?
NEW ORLEANS: This is the third position the Hornets need to fill. At the most important position on the floor, they plan to start rookie Austin Rivers, with Greivis Vasquez and his vast experience of 136 career games behind him. As a third point guard, New Orleans could use the practice presence and experience of Mike James, who last season showed he can still play a little bit.
ORLANDO: The Magic are somewhat unsettled at many positions but have some stability at the point with Jameer Nelson. Behind him, however, is recently signed speed burner Ish Smith, who has to show he can make the jump from third-string to backup. Orlando needs a third point guard, preferably someone who has seen some court time.
WASHINGTON: Similar to the Magic, the Wizards are set with John Wall. But his caddies are Shelvin Mack, whose point guard skills are lacking, and A.J. Price, who cannot shoot and took a step back last season in Indiana. Washington has the roster room and the cap space to add another ballhandler.
Chris Bernucca is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops.com. During the season, his columns appear Wednesday and Sunday. You can follow him on Twitter.
Are you happy that the interminable saga surrounding Dwight Howard’s next destination is mercifully over?
Yeah, us too.
Most NBA observers – and we’re talking about everyone from Commissioner David Stern to billionaire owners to sleep-deprived GMs to fellow superstars to media members to fans to forum flamers – are mentally moving on from Howard now that he finally has been traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Yes, there is a faction of folks who feel there may be a surprise ending. That group is headed by a billionaire owner from Texas who has dabbled in movies, and the script goes something like this: Howard continues his goofball behavior. Kobe Bryant chides him privately. Howard ignores Bryant. Bryant blasts him in public. Lakers don’t win the title. Bryant and the media blame Howard. Howard leaves via free agency for Dallas.
Possible? of course. When it comes to Howard, anything’s possible.
But it is highly unlikely, given that Howard has been living in Los Angeles since the end of the season and has gained a taste for the Left Coast. The almost inevitable endgame will be that he re-signs with the Lakers, one of his initial choice destinations.
So who’s next?
Who is the next player whose petulance holds the entire league hostage for months on end? Who is the next player whose diva behavior would shame the Kardashians? Who is the next player whose moving lips are a dead giveaway for his lies?
Who is the next player who rattles off desired destinations as if they are part of a wedding registry? Who is the next player whose agent plants so many stories he should be on HGTV? Who is the next player to lay waste to his GM, coach and team to simply satisfy his elite entourage of me, myself and I?
There has been a recent run of these guys, from LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony to Howard. All three were superstars stuck in smallish markets looking for something bigger and better to satisfy their enormous egos.
And while the new CBA does make it more lucrative for a player to stay put, it also makes the contract extension virtually meaningless, assuring that these soap operas will continue, just with different cast members.
Here they are.
2013 FREE AGENCY
ANDREW BYNUM: The best center not named Dwight Howard will be the most coveted free agent next summer. He just moved from the No. 2 market, where the only way he could emerge from the daunting shadow of Kobe Bryant was to act like a complete knucklehead. He now resides in Philadelphia and has a chance to own the No. 4 market if he sticks around. On the plus side, he is an hour from his New Jersey home. But he is now playing in front of a demanding blue-collar fan base which once booed Santa Claus. The determining variables will be Bynum’s ability to stay healthy and manage the demands of being the alpha dog.
CHRIS PAUL: He already has been down this road – albeit very briefly – in forcing his exit from New Orleans and somehow has gotten a pass from the same media and fans who raked James and Howard over the coals for similar behavior. In the past, he has backtracked on comments, getting himself in some trouble. He already has said he is not signing an extension but also spent the summer recruiting free agents to play in LA. Blake Griffin’s max extension and a burgeoning rivalry with the Lakers are excellent reasons for him to stay. But the Clippers need to name a GM ASAP to continually stroke his ego – and make sure he has a say in the next coach after Vinny Del Negro is inevitably deemed expendable.
JAMES HARDEN & SERGE IBAKA: On first blush, both of these restricted free agents don’t appear to be max players. But Harden is a Sixth Man Award winner whom many GMs envision as a starter and Ibaka could be Defensive Player of the Year if he repeats last season. Thunder GM Sam Presti’s problem is that he has about $42 million committed to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins in 2013-14, which means maxing out Harden and Ibaka puts OKC in supertax territory with just five players. And before you say Perkins should be traded, keep in mind that he has shown he can defend Howard straight up. Neither Harden nor Ibaka will hold the sway of Bynum or Paul. But it sure looks like only one will stay, and the one to go can be extremely picky about where he plays.
2014 FREE AGENCY
LEBRON JAMES, DWYANE WADE & CHRIS BOSH: Sorry to break up the perpetual party, Miami, but each of the Heatles has a player option for the 2014-15 season. Let’s say the Heat doesn’t get it done in either of the next two seasons, with one of their playoff tapouts coming before the NBA Finals – not an implausible scenario. At that point, the trio will have one title in four years, owner Micky Arison will be buried by the supertax and it may be time to move on. Wade will be 32, but Bosh will be 30 and James will be just 29. Decision II, anyone? Keep in mind that Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol (combined $47.7 million) in LA and Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion (combined $32 million) in Dallas will be at the end of their deals as well.
CARMELO ANTHONY: Yes, him again, too. He has a $23.5 million player option for the 2014-15 season and may opt out if the relentless scrutiny of the New York media continues to target him (as it rightfully should, given his alpha dog status). A couple more abbreviated postseasons with the accompanying finger-pointing could convince Melo to seek greener pastures and perhaps even hook up with his buddy James in another ostentatious orchestration as thirtysomethings. And if you think Anthony won’t leave that sort of money on the table, remember that he refused to sign a three-year, $65 million extension in Denver.
DEMARCUS COUSINS: The NBA’s third-best center might be its second-best two years from now, when he becomes a restricted free agent. Cousins has spent his first two seasons tantalizing everyone with his top-10 talent while tormenting everyone with his incidents of immaturity. The Kings are in a perpetual rebuilding loop and may not be in Sacramento in 2014. And if Cousins continues his childish behavior, there could be a clean break – and every GM will believe he can fix him.
2015 FREE AGENCY
KEVIN LOVE: The game’s best power forward can opt out of the final year of his four-year extension and become an unrestricted free agent. Given the poor weather and market size of the Twin Cities, the talk of Love leaving will start as soon as next spring if the Timberwolves are unable to crash the postseason party. Love already has said as much, threatening to leave if management does not make Minnesota a contender. The summer of 2015 also is when teammate Ricky Rubio comes due for an extension. Aside from James, Love has the greatest potential to compel the basketball world to chronicle his every word, deed and facial expression for months on end.
RAJON RONDO: Rondo’s current five-year, $55 million extension of his rookie contract did not come without some of saber-rattling and idle threats known as negotiating. The All-Star point guard of the Celtics did not deserve a max deal then but he will three years from now, when he will be just 29 – and the deals of teammates Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass also expire. Given that Chris Paul and Deron Williams will be in their 30s, Rondo conceivably could be the top pure point guard in the game in 2015. He also could still be a somewhat moody personality who doesn’t want to be .
LEBRON JAMES, DWYANE WADE & CHRIS BOSH: They can all opt out again, this time with just one year remaining on their parallel deals.
2016 FREE AGENCY
KEVIN LOVE: Yup, him again. It should be noted that if he doesn’t opt out early, that bodes extremely well for the Timberwolves.
KEVIN DURANT: By this time, Durant should have two or three more scoring titles, at least one more trip to the NBA Finals and perhaps even a championship on his resume – all at the tender age of 27. But much of his future could be pegged to what happens next summer, when Harden and Ibaka are up for extensions. If economics prevent the Thunder from winning a title, Durant may decide to spend the second half of his career elsewhere – and that hysteria could even surpass the swirl around Howard.
Chris Bernucca is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Wednesday and Sunday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter.
We are down to the bargain bin of free agency.
Reduced for clearance! Everything must go! Up to 90 percent off!
Yes, we know Mickael Pietrus and Derek Fisher aren’t exactly scrap heap material. Both were key players for playoff teams last season, as were Leandro Barbosa and Kenyon Martin.
But most of what is left falls into three categories: Olympians, amnesty victims and veterans too proud to take minimum deals.
There is some variety remaining at both forward spots and shooting guard but little left at center and the point.
Here’s a positional look at the 20 best available free agents.
MICKAEL PIETRUS: Became a victim of a money game in Boston, which is strange given that the Celtics still don’t have a true backup for Paul Pierce. Agent Bill McCandless has said Pietrus won’t play for the minimum, which may mean he is headed overseas.
JOSH HOWARD: Can still have an impact off the bench as a slasher and defender. Once a borderline knucklehead, his experience could help a young team in need of a veteran presence.
MATT BARNES: The irony here is that last season, Barnes was the best of an awful group of Lakers small forwards that included Metta World Peace, Devin Ebanks, Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. Now he is unemployed and apparently being stalked by cops. Hard to imagine his toughness and experience not being valued by any team.
ANTHONY TOLLIVER: Like Pietrus in Boston, one of the odd men out in Minnesota. There is some interest from Washington, Charlotte and Indiana, as there should be for an athletic 27-year-old combo forward with arc range.
MARTELL WEBSTER: Since he was waived by Minnesota, there has been virtually no buzz around him. That’s strange, given that he is still just 25 with good size and athleticism. Maybe it’s his haircut, one of the worst in the NBA in some time.
ALONZO GEE: Did not sign a $2.7 million qualifying offer from Cleveland, looking for a better offer that never came and never will. If he returns to the Cavaliers, he will now have to battle C.J. Miles for minutes.
TERRENCE WILLIAMS: Could be the steal of free agency – or a huge headache. When given minutes, has shown awesome skills for the 3-spot. Has also shown himself to be a clown and doesn’t seem to be in Sacramento’s plans. He needs to land where he can play rather than just deepening a bench.
KENYON MARTIN: Still available because he wanted more than a minimum deal, based on his defense, toughness and 100 career playoff games. But he is 34 and has had two microfracture surgeries. Philadelphia, Phoenix and the LA Lakers all could use his snarl.
ANDRAY BLATCHE: Undoubtedly the most talented player with the biggest upside on this list. Also has the most work to do in rebuilding his wrecked reputation, which has him on the verge of being out of the league at age 25. Amnesty victim has $25 million coming over the next three years, so he should pick a place that will afford him minutes and the right surroundings. San Antonio has been mentioned and would be ideal.
LOUIS AMUNDSON: Always seems to be overmatched but always finds a way to contribute. Still not yet 30 and would be an ideal fourth or fifth big on any roster. He may be holding out for the mini-midlevel exception with a contender.
YI JIANLIAN: Could a 7-foot stretch-4 really be done at age 24? He averaged 15 points and 10 boards in group play in the Olympics, not a bad audition after sinking to the end of the bench in Dallas last season. If he returned to China, he would instantly become the league’s biggest homegrown star. But he wants to play in the NBA.
D.J. WHITE: His 36-minute numbers last season (12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds) were not bad. The question remains can he do it with a team other than Charlotte, which had no interest in bringing him back. Also may be hoping for a mini-midlevel deal somewhere.
DARKO MILICIC: He has $7 million due over the next two years as part of his amnesty release. Given his size and age (27), he can be a little picky regarding minimum deals. Would be a good fit for any team with a defensive-minded starting center because he can put the ball in the hole a little.
JERMAINE O’NEAL: His experience makes him a nice addition who can back up the center and power forward spots. It is hard to believe he is just 33 because he has looked 43 at times over the last couple of years. He claims to be healthy now, but still no one is biting.
CHRIS ANDERSEN: Apparently not looking for more than the veteran’s minimum; with $9 milion due via amnesty over the next two years, that seems like smart way to continue his career. However, he also has some legal issues hanging over his head.
LEANDRO BARBOSA: Led Brazil in scoring at 15 points per game through Olympic group play and probably will have plenty of offers as long as he emerges healthy, which has been an issue in the past. The Lakers and Cavaliers are said to be interested, with LA offering a chance at a title and the Cavs able to offer more money and minutes.
CARLOS DELFINO: Has always had an inflated opinion of himself, so it’s not surprising he is unsigned, especially considering he is still playing in the Olympics. Undersized for small forward and not quick enough for shooting guard but could back up both positions.
MICHAEL REDD: Nowhere near the player he was in his prime but still a dead-eye shooter who bounced back a bit last season in Phoenix. Was that due to the awesome work by the training staff of the Suns? His agent says he is taking his time picking a team, but his name has been quiet this summer.
LESTER HUDSON: Averaged nearly 13 points in 13 games with Cleveland – which let his second 10-day deal expire. Then Memphis signed him – and did not make a qualifying offer. Already 28, he is worth a one-year deal as a fifth or sixth guard.
DEREK FISHER: If he wasn’t so steadfast in wanting more than the veteran’s minimum, he would have been snapped up long ago. Even though he turns 38 this month, his postseason with the Thunder showed he has plenty left in the tank both on and off the court. Might still get an exception from a contender.
JANNERO PARGO: Not really a point guard but can handle the ball for brief stretches. Those who consider him a journeyman should note that he has played 40 playoff games – and averaged double figures in two postseasons. He has no fear of taking a big shot.
Chris Bernucca is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops.com. During the season, his columns appear Wednesday and Sunday. You can follow him on Twitter.