NBA Free Agents 2012: Struggling Stars in Dire Need of Scenery Change

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sometimes all you need to do is change your surroundings to achieve your goals. For a few NBA free agents, that is exactly what is necessary.

Whether it is lack of playing time or simply being in the wrong situation, these players are not getting the most out of their potential on their current teams.

However, NBA teams looking for a bargain should grab these underutilized talents, as they have the potential to render huge returns.


O.J. Mayo

After a great start to his professional career, O.J. Mayo found himself coming off the bench for a quality Memphis Grizzlies team. 

In his first two seasons, Mayo averaged over 17 points per game and was one of the go-to scorers for the Grizzlies. Unfortunately, since then, his minutes and points have dropped, and he has become expendable.

Although his shooting numbers have dropped from his rookie year, the former USC star can still light it up from deep and still has the occasional great game.

He will be worth taking a look at for teams needing an extra scoring option.


Leandro Barbosa

Barbosa is another scoring guard that can really light up a scoreboard.

At his peak, he was one of the best sixth men in the NBA, providing a quality spark off the bench for the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, with the Indiana Pacers, he simply does not get enough playing time for him to show his skills. 

The Brazilian has great speed and can get to the basket regardless of who is guarding him. Even if he is not a starter, he should still be getting close to starter's minutes where he can get the ball and make plays happen.


Carl Landry

For the past few years, Carl Landry has been wasted on bad teams. He was able to provide solid numbers for the New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings, but he is capable of much more.

As an undersized power forward, it is unlikely he will ever be a superstar or even an everyday starter, but he is a good scorer and does the little things necessary for a team to win.

Landry would be a great addition to the rotation of a contender. He would provide low-post scoring in short doses and could be the missing piece on a championship run. 


Raymond Felton

Felton showed with the New York Knicks two years ago what he can do with talent around him. He scored 17 points per game and averaged nine assists as the team fought for a playoff spot.

This year, Felton's numbers crashed as the Portland Trail Blazers began a rebuilding movement. By drafting Damian Lillard, there is no need for Felton to stay as the team gets younger.

Fortunately, there are a number of teams that could use a solid leader who knows how to run an offense. He is one of the better pure point guards in the NBA, and there should be a starting job waiting for him.

With a winning team, Felton could regain the elite form he showed in past years.