2012 NBA Free Agents: 5 Veterans Who Still Have It
The 2012 NBA playoffs are still going strong, but the rest of the league is looking forward to the start of the summer, with an eye toward adding the players who will enable them to compete this late into the season.
There are plenty of young, talented players on the market (Deron Williams, Michael Beasley and Eric Gordon), but what can often be the difference-maker for teams is how well their set of veterans perform with the young guns around them.
Let's take a look at five veterans on the free-agent market this summer who should be able to still contribute a good amount to whichever team they end up on.
Steve Nash, PG
Nash has had a great career with the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, but still has no rings to show for his efforts.
Now at 37, he may be on the lookout for a contender in need of a playmaking point guard, so that he can get his first taste of championship gold.
Despite his age, Nash produced a solid season of 12.5 points per game to go with 10.7 assists per contest. He also shot a career-high .532 field-goal percentage during a tumultuous and hectic lockout-shortened season.
Nash has shown that he can still play the game at a productive level and he could make himself a valuable, Jason Kidd-type asset for a team who needs a boost.
Ray Allen, SG
They say the last thing to go for aging basketball players is their shot, and luckily for Ray Allen, that's all he needs.
Allen, the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers made, has always been a shooter. Now, as he turns 37 this summer, he may be relegated to a role-playing spot on a team.
In his recent years, he hasn't changed his game much, since he still drains three after three and hits free throws at a ridiculously high percentage (91 percent last season). Now, much like Nash, Allen could be a deadly sharpshooter and provide instant offense for a team that needs a perimeter shooter to help their offense out.
With the Celtics most likely looking to rebuild at the end of this season, they will probably split up their big three of Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, to make room for a younger squad. This means Allen could be even more available as an unrestricted free agent, since Boston may not even be looking to retain him.
Chris Kaman, C
Good, true centers can be hard to come by in the NBA, which makes Chris Kaman a good candidate to be picked up pretty quickly this summer in free agency.
After going to the Hornets as a part of the Chris Paul-Los Angeles Clippers trade, Kaman has been unhappy with his situation, and the Hornets were trying to deal him away during the season. However, nothing ever materialized, so Kaman now sits as an unrestricted free agent on the market.
Which one of these players is worth the biggest contract?
There are plenty of contending teams that could use a boost at the center position (the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics for example) and Kaman is still capable of scoring in the double digits every night to go with seven or eight rebounds per contest.
At 30-years-old, Kaman isn't exactly done yet and could be a risk worth taking even though he has had a checkered past in terms of staying healthy.
Kevin Garnett, PF
The Big Ticket may have to find a ticket out of Beantown after the season, since the Celtics might be looking to going in a different direction starting this offseason.
Garnett, a 14-time All-Star, is one of the greatest players of this generation and is still playing his hard-nosed defense and hitting those smooth mid-range jumpers.
Though he is now 36, Garnett is still a viable player who could make an impact on the court and in the locker room for a young team.
There will be plenty of interest in Garnett, since playing defense is something any team could use and his contributions on offense are still solid enough to make him a starting power forward in the league.
Andre Miller, PG
Miller definitely showed some signs of youth in this year's NBA playoffs, which caused Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl to go as far as to call Miller "one of the top 10 point guards, ever.”
Whether that's true or not (it's not), this certainly shows that Miller still has people believing in him, even as he reaches the twilight of his career.
Much like Nash, Miller can still make great plays and run an offense as a point guard while doing a little bit of scoring himself.
He is also an unrestricted free agent this summer and will receive a lot of interest from teams who miss out on picking up Steve Nash.
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