NBA Free Agency 2012: 5 Big Names Who Will Struggle to Land Contracts
The 2012 NBA free-agency period is underway, meaning nonstop updates on the latest offers, negotiations and trades. However, for some big names, this summer will consist of waiting for a deal that will never happen.
There are numerous reasons why players fail to land contracts during the offseason. From injury to locker room presence to old age, various factors play a role in a team's decision to pass on a player.
These big names used to be hot commodities, but now their future in the NBA is uncertain.
Greg Oden, C
If you look up Greg Oden's name in the NBA free agency handbook, there's probably a red flag next to it.
Oden is one of biggest draft busts in NBA history, and any team would be taking a huge risk by offering him a contract this summer. He's injury prone and has been nothing short of a nightmare for the Trail Blazers.
On the other hand, Oden is still only 24 years old. The last time he played was the 2009-10 season, and though he only played 21 games, Oden showed it's possible for him to live up to his vast potential.
Oden's agent, Mike Conley, Sr., stated his client wishes to play for the 2012 champion Miami Heat. However, the best bet for Oden is to take time off to rehab properly and get healthy. The former No. 1 draft pick can turn his NBA career around and become a truly dominant center if he works hard.
Tracy McGrady, F
Tracy McGrady is simply not the player he once was. The beast known as T-Mac is long gone. McGrady is still a quality role player who may be able to contribute to his respective team. However, the unrestricted free agent won't sign a contract this summer.
In the 2011-12 season, McGrady averaged 5.3 points and 16.1 minutes per game. That's a stark contrast from his final season with the Orlando Magic, in which he averaged 28 points, 5.5 assists and six rebounds per game.
Although the Atlanta Hawks won't re-sign McGrady this summer, his career in the NBA isn't over yet. Plenty of championship contenders could benefit from having the veteran on their bench. While he's not the player he once was, he can still contribute.
J.R. Smith, SG
J.R. Smith is not a team player. While that might be OK with one-on-one basketball, it doesn't work in the NBA. For this reason, Smith will struggle to sign a contract this offseason.
The shooting guard doesn't fit into the Knicks' plans for next season. Smith declined his $2.4 million option to become a free agent in hopes of a long-term deal with New York. Although Smith is a quality sixth man, the Knicks don't necessarily need him.
Whether a team is willing to take the good with the bad has yet to be determined. Smith's brother told ESPN New York that J.R. wishes to stay with the Knicks. However, the more likely outcome is for Smith to remain unsigned during the summer before signing a short-term deal in the regular season.
Gilbert Arenas, PG
Frankly, Gilbert Arenas is washed up. Agent Zero is going to have lots of trouble trying to find a new home this summer.
The 30-year-old free agent used to be a prolific scorer, averaging more than 25 points per game for three straight seasons. Now, Arenas is a mediocre role player at best that may carry more baggage than he's worth.
After a highly publicized incident with a teammate in Washington, Arenas became known as a locker-room cancer. Since then, he's played for three teams over the last two seasons.
Last season, Arenas sat out as a free agent until the Grizzles finally picked him up for the last 17 games of the regular season. Due to his low production and off-the-court issues, expect a similar situation to happen this year.
Baron Davis, PG
It was almost like time froze. The legendary Madison Square Garden fell silent. Veteran point guard Baron Davis winced in pain, grabbing his right knee. A MRI of Davis' right knee would reveal a partial tear of the patella tendon and complete tears of the MCL and ACL.
The horrific knee injury ended Davis' season and will most likely end his NBA career as well. The recovery time for his injury is 12 months. Considering Davis was already coming off a back injury, the chance that he will actually rehab and return to the league is unlikely.
Despite the odds against him, Davis told New York Daily News he is not done.
"I don't know how long (for the brace and crutch), but once I am done, it's on to rehab," Davis said. "I am coming back."
We're rooting for Baron Davis. However, he shouldn't count on any NBA teams signing him this summer.