NBA Free Agents 2012: Former Stars Still Looking for a New Team
Plenty of big-name veterans—including Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Marcus Camby—will don different jerseys next season. However, there are several floating around as free agents that have yet to find a new team.
From long-time Orlando forward Tracy McGrady to former Lakers favorite Derek Fisher, here are nine former stars waiting to find their place.
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At 30 years old, there's no reason Orlando guard Gilbert Arenas couldn't play a few more seasons—except, of course, if no team wants to pick him up.
Not long ago, Arenas was the envy of most franchises. He averaged 25 points per game for three seasons in a row while in Washington, and in 2005-06 he put up his career-high average of 29 PPG.
Since then, however, the Arizona alum has been sidelined with injuries.
And of course there is the "Guns in the Locker Room" incident of 2009. Not only did the consequent suspension keep Arenas off the court for awhile, but the poor publicity didn't exactly scream "bring me to your team."
At this point, it looks like Arenas might not find another team to play for. He only averaged 4.2 points over 12 minutes a game last season, and teams just aren't willing to take the chance.
Once a star point guard who averaged double-digit points and as many as eight assists per game, 34-year-old Mike Bibby is approaching the end of his career.
Despite beginning to fizzle, though, Bibby can still serve as a reliable reserve player for the right team. He won't get more than 15 minutes a game, but he still runs the floor with efficiency. Bibby is a smart player; in the 2012 playoffs, Bibby averaged 5.4 points and dished out 2.6 assists per game for New York.
For a team looking for an experienced veteran who can mentor a younger squad and come off the bench to grab a few points, Bibby would be a great pickup.
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Although guard Derek Fisher may not be considered a "star" in the traditional sense, he was a Lakers fan favorite for many years. You won't hear his name on many SportsCenter highlight reels, but Fisher has been consistently delivering solid performances for over a decade.
Last season, Fisher came off the bench to average 5.6 points and 2.7 assists per game for Oklahoma City.
He may be a bit of a gamble at 37 years old, but on the experience front, Fisher has it all—including five championship rings from one of the greatest franchises in NBA history.
Fellow B/R writer Zach Buckley says it excellently in his article on 2012 Free Agency:
"Fisher is exactly the kind of locker room presence that could add something to either a young team trying to find its way or a veteran team with championship goals."
The point guard could do well off the bench for Chicago, being that Derrick Rose is still recovering from his ACL injury, and I could also see him fitting in well at Brooklyn as a mentor on a squad looking to make some serious headway in the league.
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After 15 years in the league, forward Tracy McGrady is still looking to hang around. McGrady's nowhere near the player he used to be, though.
The forward's peak season was 2002-03, during which he averaged an incredible 32 points per game. His numbers have dipped dramatically since 2008, and the 33-year-old has played in four different cities over the past three years.
McGrady is at the point in his career where he may be searching for that one contending team, and in that case I could see him play a few minutes per game for Oklahoma City. However, I'm not sure the Thunder would be interested in bringing in the aging player and his accompanying paycheck.
O'Neal spent the last two seasons in Boston, where he averaged 5.2 points and just around four rebounds per game as a backup center. While he's not exactly an offensive asset, the big man still averages almost two blocks per contest and, given the right system, he can provide relief to the defensive end of the floor.
Milwaukee watched O'Neal work out, and it was rumored for a while that the Lakers would bring him in as a reliable bench player. While each of these teams has reason to bring the center in, I actually expect L.A. to be more ready to take a chance on him. O'Neal recently underwent Orthokine therapy, and he claims the procedure re-energized him and put him back on his feet.
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Compared to the others on this list, 37-year-old Ben Wallace seems a little more cut-and-dried about his options.
According to a July 21 article on CBSSports.com, Wallace will either retire from the NBA or return to Detroit. At the end of the 2011-12 season, it seemed as though the veteran would not be returning to the court. As is sometimes the case with professional athletes, though, the decision isn't coming quite so easily for Wallace.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Wallace was preparing to participate in a summer league he sponsors, and he indicated his performance would help him decide.
Will Wallace return for another mediocre season prolonging his retirement? Your guess is as good as mine.
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The looming question for Baron Davis is whether or not a team will take a chance on a veteran recovering from knee surgery.
The 33-year-old underwent successful surgery in May, but the definition of "successful" still includes Davis being out for 12 months—in other words, he won't be setting foot on the court this season. Despite the prospect of missing an entire year, Davis says he won't be retiring.
The guard's numbers have been consistent in each of his 13 seasons. Last year he had the lowest productivity, but he still delivered six points and a solid 4.7 assists per game.
If Davis can find a team willing to take him on for his future potential, he can be a presence of experience on a young team looking for leadership.
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At 34 years old, Kenyon Martin still remains an extremely relevant player in the league, and I expect him to land somewhere before the summer is up.
Martin came off the bench in 42 games for the Clippers last season, and he averaged a respectable 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per regular-season game. The veteran can provide a team with a reliable presence down low and a tough defensive edge off the bench.
The Golden State Warriors were supposedly interested in obtaining Martin or Andrei Kirilenko; but now that the team has agreed to terms with Carl Landry, K-Mart will have to wait for another opportunity.
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Phoenix guard Michael Redd doesn't have an assist average as high as some teams might like to see, but after 12 years in the NBA he's still averaging 8.2 points in just 15 minutes per game.
One negative mark against him is that Redd tends to be a bit injury-prone. If he stayed healthy, however, Redd would be a great addition to a solid team's bench, and squads that could prove a good fit for the Ohio State alum include the L.A. Lakers and Chicago Bulls.