NBA Free Agents 2012: Best Kept Secrets on the Open Market
The 2012 NBA free-agency period has been dominated by the big names of Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, Ray Allen and many others, but the field is surprisingly deep and some players are left not being talked about.
While not all of these players will be starters with the teams they choose to sign with, their impact on the league in the past few years should bode well for their chances of landing a contract and a solid roster spot on whichever team chooses them.
With many players swirling around in this year's free agency and some big storylines brewing, the 2012-13 season could shape up to be one of the most surprising seasons in recent memory. These players will only help their team's cause.
Let's take a look at the players who very few people are talking about, but will have a great production level next season.
Was I the only one who was shocked by the skill that Brandon Bass displayed through the C's playoff run last season?
Bass turned into one of Boston's top offensive options in the postseason, and decided in mid-June to become a free agent. He's been fielding calls from six teams (not including the Celtics), according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.
The 27-year-old power forward has seen his numbers spike in recent years. He shot .515 from the field in 2010-11 and scored 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in 2011-12, both career bests.
He averaged 14 points per game in a grueling seven-game series with Philadelphia, and notched a crucial 27 points in Game 5 of that conference semifinal series. It's spectacular how no one is talking about him to this point.
Veteran guard Chauncey Billups has seen a great level of success in the NBA, and his numbers still don't show many signs of the 35-year-old slowing down.
The Clippers remain the most likely destination for Billups, as the team just offered the scoring vet a one-year, $4 million contract, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Billups was a formidable backcourt teammate with Chris Paul before going down with a torn left Achilles tendon and having to sit out the remainder of the season. However, he didn't just disappear onto the Clippers bench as he did his best Vinny Del Negro impression many times.
He's averaged 15 points per game for his lengthy 15-year career and has only averaged fewer than 16 points per game twice in the last decade.
Ramon Sessions' name hasn't been all over the place in free agency, but it should be.
Apparently Sessions either doesn't think the $4.55 million he was due in 2012-13 was enough for him or he wants out of L.A. after opting out of the final year of his contract, but we're going to assume it's the former that's true. The Lakers, however, reached out to Sessions (per ESPN) just hours after free agency began, and that still seems like the most likely destination.
Sessions seemed like a great fit into a Lakers offense with his facilitation skills, ball handling and long-range shot (48.3 percent from beyond the arc in the regular season), but they could use more scoring at the position after he averaged a little more than six points per game in their playoff series loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It's safe to say Sessions' name has been lost in translation so far this free agency period, but that should all expire once some of the bigger names move off the market and teams start chasing him.
When Turiaf opted out of his 2012-13 contract with the Miami Heat, it all but ended his tenure with the NBA champions (at least for now).
Turiaf was a solid role player for the Heat throughout the final stretch of the season defensively, but failed to put up impressive offensive numbers with just three points per game in 2011-12. He eventually was not much more than a towel-waver on the Heat bench throughout the postseason.
However, Turiaf can bring immediate energy and defensive toughness to any team that decides to sign him. He should have little trouble finding a place to call his home in 2012-13 and will be a strong, tough big man to throw into a rotation.
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