It is now August, which means that most of the top NBA free agents have been picked up in the last month. It also means that most teams with salary cap room have now exhausted it on top level talent. However despite that, there is still talent left on the market to be picked up.
Most teams at this point are looking to fill out their roster and bench. Most players at this point are looking for a low value contract for this season, just to make sure they have an NBA contract before every team is tied up financially. Because of this, here are the eight best players on the market who could turn into bargain pickups.
Stats: 7.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 45.2% FG, 33.3% 3P
Matt Barnes last year played for the Los Angeles Lakers, starting in 16 of his 63 appearances. Ever since he has entered the league, he has been regarded as one of the toughest players in the league. On every team he has played on, he has brought an element of nastiness.
Barnes is also a very capable perimeter defender, one of the best in the league. When Barnes joined the Lakers, many fans claimed Kobe recruited Barnes since he felt that Barnes was one of the best in the league at guarding him, and he didn't want that to be an issue. Now obviously that is just speculation, and Barnes isn't the same player he once was, but he can still provide a defensive edge to any team next year.
Stats: 16.7 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 51.3% FG
Johnson was a 27-year-old rookie last season out of University of California San Bernardino. Johnson has quite the career so far. His scholarship was not renewed at the University of Oregon because of his "anger management issues," according to nba.com.
Johnson started out playing in the NBA D-League. He then played in the Korean basketball league, but was banned forever for giving a ref the finger. Then he went back to the D-League, and the Atlanta Hawks took a chance on him. He was fined $25,000 after the season ended for giving a Boston fan the finger while leaving after being eliminated in the playoffs.
What I'm trying to get at here is that Ivan Johnson gives your team an edge, on and off the court.
Johnson appeared in 56 out of a possible 66 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season, and contributed points, rebounds and defense, as well as overall intimidation. Johnson would fit well on a team looking for a tough and intimidating player in a locker room filled with high character guys.
Stats: 5.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 43.7% FG, 45.5% 3P
Tracy McGrady used to be one of the best players in all of basketball at the beginning of the decade. He is now 33, a shell of what he used to be. Injuries have derailed his career like few others before him, and he is now a role player at best. On top of all this, he will end his career without ever leading his team out of the first round of the playoffs.
What T-Mac can offer at this point is just overall complementary play. He is still a great ball handler, and still has the court vision to be a backup point guard at times. He still should be able to be a complementary scorer off the bench as well. His shooting stroke appears to be mostly intact. Some team will take a chance on him.
Stats: 15.2 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.4 BPG
Chris Anderson, or the "Birdman" has been a solid NBA backup center ever since he came back from his two-year substance abuse ban. He is known for his tattoos and hairdo, but is just as well known for blocking shots at an incredible rate and for dunking the ball on the offensive end.
Birdman is not a starting center in this league, especially at this point of his career. However, he is a player who could be very valuable as a backup for a team that needs a good defensive backup. I just need to emphasize that this man averaged 3.3 blocks per game per 36 minutes. The delay in his signing is likely due to more legal trouble, but I think a team should take a chance on him anyway.
Stats: 8.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 38% FG
Andray Blatche is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA right now. He has heaps and heaps of talent, but has no work ethic whatsoever; that is clear to all of us. He also has had a couple of issues off the court, which makes him that much less desirable to a team.
Most Blatche critics say he probably won't get a contract next season in the NBA. I think he deserves a chance in a situation where he can succeed. There's no question for the last few years, Washington has been one of the most mismanaged franchises in the NBA. However if Blatche can join a steady NBA franchise, I think he could resurrect his career.
Stats: 5.6 PPG, 2.7 APG
Derek Fisher is one of the most intriguing players in the NBA in my opinion. He doesn't have much physical ability anymore. He doesn't have much skill left. He really doesn't appear to add very much to a basketball team. However when the playoffs come around, there he is: hitting clutch baskets, playing tough defense, and generally annoying any team he plays against.
Because of that, Fisher NEEDS to go to a team where he can win. During the season he doesn't provide much, but he just flat out helps teams win in the playoffs. I hate him as a player for many reasons, but you can't argue with his results.
Stats: 5.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 44.1% FG
Like T-Mac, Kenyon Martin used to be an all-star caliber player for the New Jersey Nets. Like T-Mac, Martin's career was absolutely derailed by injuries. Unlike T-Mac, Martin managed to fine tune his game into being a role player, and a very valuable one at that.
Throughout his career, Martin has been a tireless worker and a beast defensively. Any team looking for a third big man should look to Martin first. He is also a great locker room personality, and is just an overall plus on your team. His skills are waning, but he can still contribute to a team.
Stats: 11.1 PPG, 42.5% FG, 38.2% 3P
Leandro Barbosa is one of the most dynamic bench scorers in the league. He can attack the basket with ease due to his speed, or he can knock down the long range jumper as well. Any team looking for a sixth man should look to Barbosa first on the market. He can score quickly, and score in bunches, even at this stage of his career.
Sure, Barbosa is about to turn 30 years old, typically a dropping off point for NBA players. However Barbosa will still continue to be a player who can shoot, drive and contribute in many ways on a basketball court. It's shocking to me that no one has picked him up yet, but they will soon after the Olympics.