NBA Free Agency 2012: Best Remaining Solutions for Last-Minute Shoppers
The best of the best may have been claimed early in free agency, but there are a handful of players who could provide teams with the spark they’ll be looking for heading into the 2012-13 NBA season.
Of the players remaining, many of them have either fallen out of league-wide relevancy or have yet to prove their value early in their careers, but even those willing to play for less can have an impact when put into the right situation.
Whether a team is rebuilding or looking to add the final piece to their rotation, there are players out there who can fill niches and provide quality minutes, even if those minutes come sparingly throughout the new season.
Like many of the veteran free agents on the market this summer, Kenyon Martin has lost a step or two throughout his NBA career.
That being said, he can still provide intensity on both ends of the floor, which any NBA team would love to have.
His production has certainly decreased over the years, but after averaging 4.3 rebounds and one block in just 22 minutes per game last year, he will add a gritty toughness wherever he lands for the 2012-13 season.
Andray Blatche cleared waivers after being amnestied by the Washington Wizards this summer. He is now a free agent and able to sign wherever he chooses.
The 25-year-old power forward has loads of talent and a decent ceiling, but his conditioning and attitude have been major question marks early in his career.
Just two seasons ago he averaged 16.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game with the Wizards, but he’s never been able to fully put it together.
Blatche has lacked discipline throughout his career, but as a jump-shooting big, his talents could be well utilized if brought into the right system with the right group of personnel.
Leandro Barbosa’s best days were clearly with the potent offense of the Phoenix Suns, but he’s had a couple of decent years with the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors since his departure from the desert in 2010.
The 29-year-old guard is still a productive player and can bring his blinding speed and great shooting ability to a team looking to get out and run next season.
Despite being an undersized shooting guard, Barbosa can attack the basket and score at the rim with his ability to change pace and beat defenders off the dribble.
He is still a threat even as he approaches 30 in November, and if a team is looking for a spark off the bench, there’s no need to look any further than the former Sixth Man of the Year.
UPDATE: Carlos Delfino has reportedly signed with the Houston Rockets.
Carlos Delfino isn’t a player who is great in any one area, but he can fill a rotation nicely at either the shooting guard or small forward position.
Having shot 36.2 percent from the three-point line for his career, Delfino is a player who can keep defenses honest and help spread the floor on a regular basis.
Delfino is coming off a season where he averaged nine points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Despite being a decent shooter, his biggest asset just might be his defense. Having averaged 1.5 steals per game last year with the Milwaukee Bucks, Delfino can defend the wing with his great size if used as a 2-guard next season.
Josh Howard isn’t the near-20-point-per-game player he once was with the Dallas Mavericks, but he is a decent mid-range scorer who can handle the ball nicely for a player his size.
A 6’7” small forward, Howard has shown that he can be a solid rebounder, and his experience on winning teams will be welcomed in any NBA locker room.
Durability is a concern with Howard, but if he can stay healthy and get into great game shape next year, he can officially begin the tail end of his career with a new team.
If a team is looking to go younger, Terrence Williams is an alternative. If experience is what a team covets, Howard could be a good addition heading into next season.
Matt Barnes never fully excelled with the Los Angeles Lakers, but his defensive presence and rebounding abilities could help a number of teams add toughness to their bench unit next season.
The 32-year-old forward isn’t going to be a vital part of any offense, but his ability to hit an open shot will at least keep defenses honest.
He’s played for eight NBA teams in his nine years in the league, and with the moves the Lakers have made this summer, he’s looking for a new squad to join this offseason.
Barnes is a nuisance on the perimeter, and he can provide an edge on defense that is unmatched by most of the remaining free agents.
Tracy McGrady is far beyond his prime, but the seven-time All-Star is an intriguing option at the small forward position this summer.
It’s true that the 33-year-old veteran has battled incessant injuries, lost more than a step or two and played inconsistently over the past few years, but his length on the perimeter could provide a team with a decent defensive presence.
McGrady’s shot has never been elite, but with his length, he can still manage to hit shots over smaller defenders.
Michael Redd is another example of a player who could be a great pickup in certain situations, but his declining skill set makes him a risk that most teams won’t be willing to take.
Whoever signs Derek Fisher this offseason will do so for one reason—his leadership.
Fisher is a player whose ball-handling skills and basketball IQ will keep him relevant next season, but it will be his leadership that makes him a person worth keeping around for quite some time.
Fisher is entering his 17th NBA season, and he has been a part of multiple NBA championship runs.
At 38 years old, Fisher’s game is clearly on the decline. Despite shooting 37.3 percent from behind the arc for his career, his numbers have begun trending the wrong way, as his shot is clearly starting to fade.
The veteran point guard has lost a step, and while his presence on the court is quickly coming to an end, his presence off it might be where his true value lies next season.