NBA Free Agency 2012: Studs Still in Hunt for Big Money

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics directs the offense against the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Many of the top NBA unrestricted free agents have agreed to contracts already, but plenty of talent, as well as teams willing to spend, remain out there.

Maybe none of these remaining players are of all-star caliber, but there are definitely guys who can join a contending team and perhaps put them over the top.

Some organizations are tapped out in terms of spending, but there are quite a few teams that lost out on the top-level stars and now have money burning a hole in their pockets. They could save their money for next year, but teams are looking to spend and make improvements immediately. Several players can help in that capacity.

These athletes are looking for a big payday and will ultimately get one by the time the signing period comes to a close. The following is a list of the biggest names remaining on the market:


Ray Allen

He may be 36 years old with injuries starting to catch up to him, but shooting guard Ray Allen is still one of the biggest prizes remaining on the market.

Allen had the worst scoring output since his rookie season this year as he averaged just over 14 points per game for the Boston Celtics, given that his nagging injuries certainly took away some of his effectiveness.

Even so, Allen was able to do what he has always done best, demonstrated in the form of hitting 91.5 percent of his free throws and an incredible 45.3 percent of his three-point field goals.

According to Pro Basketball Talk, Allen is being pursued by a few teams, including the Celtics, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies.

After ESPN reported that Minnesota signed Brandon Roy, however, it is no longer a fit.

Allen could opt to stay in Boston, but the C's signed Jason Terry. That said, Allen's role may have been slightly diminished.

As a result, the best situation for Allen resides in Miami.

He wouldn't be a starter with Dwyane Wade on the roster, but he would still play a huge role as a sixth man—the perfect spot for him to chase his second NBA title.


Chris Kaman

Center Chris Kaman has been unable to replicate the success he had had in 2009-10, when he averaged 18.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while making the All-Star game for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Still he will be highly sought after on the market.

Kaman was traded to the New Orleans Hornets as part of the Chris Paul deal last season, and while he and the organization went through some tumultuous times, Kaman was productive, putting up 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest.

It's hard to find a quality center, so Kaman is a hot commodity.

ESPN's Ric Bucher tweeted that several teams have shown interest in Kaman, including the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers. All of these teams would be solid fits for Kaman, but the Spurs represent his best chance to win and produce.

San Antonio was the league's best team during the regular season, rolling through the playoffs until the Oklahoma City Thunder took four straight against it.

The Spurs haven't been rock solid at center since David Robinson retired, so Kaman would be an excellent complement to Tim Duncan.


Lou Williams

The Philadelphia 76ers are a team known for their defense, but their best offensive player is currently an unrestricted free agent.

Guard Lou Williams averaged nearly 15 points per game this season, despite playing just 26 minutes per contest as a sixth man.

There aren't many players in the league that can match his per-minute production, so Williams is a guy that the Sixers must absolutely find a way to lock up in the coming days.

Other teams have shown interest in Williams, but every indication so far has pointed to him re-signing in Philadelphia.

The 25-year-old has steadily improved every year, so perhaps Williams will be ready to take on a bigger role next season and in the future.

There are rumors that Andre Iguodala might be on the move, and if that is the case, then Williams will have to step up and shoulder even more of the offensive load.

Williams is a really skilled player and I expect the 76ers to give him a nice, hefty contract.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter