NBA Free Agency 2012: 6 Restricted FAs Who Could Be on the Move
Unlike unrestricted NBA free agents, restricted free agents are at the mercy of their current teams.
There’s always a chance that the restricted will find themselves wearing a different uniform when the offseason comes to a close, but if players are good enough, their current team more often than not will match any offer extended to them (as the Memphis Grizzlies plan to do with O.J. Mayo and the Phoenix Suns plan to do with Robin Lopez).
However, there are some RFAs who could be on the move this summer.
Here are six restricted free agents in the NBA who are far from guaranteed to return to their current teams.
6. Donte Greene, Sacramento Kings
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Even though Donte Greene is restricted and has a $2.5 million qualifying offer to remain with the Sacramento Kings next season, I think his days in Sacramento are numbered.
Moving forward, the Kings are more likely to turn their attention toward Jason Thompson, another Kings forward who will be a free agent this summer.
Tom Ziller of SB Nation wrote about the possibility that Greene won't be back in a Kings uniform next year. After 961 fans voted on the article's poll, 62 percent of voters decided it would be best to move on and not extend Green's qualifying offer.
It certainly seems as if Greene will find a new home next year.
Update: According to the Sacramento Bee, Greene has said his goodbyes to Sacramento via his Twitter account.
5. Rudy Fernandez, Denver Nuggets
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Rudy Fernandez will be a restricted free agent this summer if he isn't extended a $3.2 million qualifying offer.
Andre Miller and JaVale McGee will also be free agents, so I think that the Nuggets may be preoccupied with their futures, which could overshadow Fernandez.
Additionally, according to HoopsHype, Fernandez has said "it wouldn't be a step back if I play in Europe." That seems to indicate that if Fernandez isn't extended his qualifying offer to stay in Denver, he could choose to play overseas.
Fernandez is a solid sharpshooting role player, but he hasn't found the ideal situation for himself in the NBA yet after four seasons.
4. Jerryd Bayless, Toronto Raptors
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Jerryd Bayless is a perfect example of a player who would have benefited from staying in college for another year to polish his game.
He decided to be a one-and-done before going to the NBA, however, and has had a hard time finding his niche at the next level.
According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, Bayless would like to re-sign with the Raptors. Despite this, I'm not sure if there is mutual interest from the Raptors organization.
The Raptors still have Jose Calderon under contract for another season, and there's a possibility that the Raptors could draft their point guard of the future in this year's draft to groom behind the Spanish facilitator.
Bayless has a $4.16 million qualifying offer to remain in Toronto, but I think the Raptors will wait until he gets an offer from another team and go from there.
3. D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats
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D.J. Augustin has a $4.4 million qualifying offer to remain with the Charlotte Bobcats, but with the addition of Kemba Walker and with Gerald Henderson playing solid basketball, I think someone will be the odd man out.
Apparently Augustin already turned down a previous contract extension from the Bobcats, which hints that he may not want a future in Charlotte. Even if the Bobcats choose to retain Augustin, I think he could be part of a trade moving forward.
There are plenty of teams looking for a new floor general, so it's safe to assume that Augustin will have plenty of worthy suitors willing to pay more than the Bobcats.
Update: The trade acquisition of Ben Gordon from the Detroit Pistons may be a further indication that Augustin doesn't fit with the Bobcats' future plans.
2. Aaron Brooks, Phoenix Suns
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After being acquired from the Houston Rockets in the bone-headed trade that sent Goran Dragic and a first-round pick away from Phoenix, Aaron Brooks decided to sign a contract to play in China during the lockout.
As a result, Brooks did not play a single minute for the Suns last year.
According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Suns cannot execute a sign-and-trade with Brooks because he was not part of the team's payroll last season. Basically, the Suns can keep him or let him walk.
This will admittedly be one of the toughest decisions the Suns have to make this offseason.
If Steve Nash ultimately decides to sign elsewhere, the Suns will be in the market for a new point guard. It would be like salt in the wounds of Suns fans if they truly got nothing in return for Dragic and a first-round pick by watching Brooks leave, but it seems like a distinct possibility if the team looks to go in a different direction.
1. Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
Michael Beasley has had more than his fair share of ups and downs thus far in the NBA. Inconsistent play and a plethora of injuries have hindered his development, even though he's shown flashes of being a great pro player.
Beasley has an $8.2 million qualifying offer to remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, but with last year's second overall pick Derrick Williams on the roster, it wouldn't be a huge disappointment if Beasley signed elsewhere.
There have also been rampant rumors that even if the T-Wolves re-signed Beasley, they could look to execute a sign-and-trade deal.
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times wrote out a pros and cons of Beasley with the idea that he could land in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
There's still a possibility that Beasley will be back, but Minnesota may not want to hinder Williams' growth by burying him on the depth chart.
Update: With the acquisition of Chase Budinger from the Houston Rockets, it appears as if Beasley's time in Minnesota could be coming to end.