NBA Rumors: Analyzing the Latest Free Agent Buzz
With the NBA free-agent pool nearly dried up, there are still a handful of talented players who made some noise last week.
While Dwight Howard to the Lakers was obviously the week’s biggest news, there was a good amount of free-agent buzz in the past seven days that is worth further attention. With the Olympics and the end of the Dwightmare, it was easy to overlook some significant free-agent rumors.
Let’s take a look at the last week’s free-agent moves and rumors.
Jodie Meeks Joins the Lakers
Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com reported on Saturday that the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a contract with free-agent guard Jodie Meeks. McMenamin wrote that the deal was a two-year contract worth slightly over $3 million with a team option for the 2013-14 season.
Meeks, a four-year veteran, spent the last three seasons in Philadelphia and averaged 8.1 points in 24.9 minutes per contest last year. He shoots 37.1 percent from three for his career.
The Lakers added Dwight Howard in a four-team deal on Friday, so not much attention was going to the Meeks signing. Los Angeles needed another backup shooter, and Meeks gives them a very solid one. He greatly improves the Lakers' bench depth.
Jermaine O'Neil Signs with Phoenix
Jermaine O’Neal signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The 16-year veteran will make the veterans’ minimum.
The Suns lack any backup center besides Channing Frye, and O’Neal will give them a better rebounding presence than Frye offers. However, O’Neal is on the last dregs of his career and Suns fans should not expect a huge contribution.
O’Neal averaged 5.0 points and 5.4 rebounds last season in 22.8 minutes for the Celtics. He played well in the past two seasons for Boston, but he’s obviously lost most of his athleticism and now relies on his strength and experience. Hopefully for Suns fans, he has another year left in him.
Devin Ebanks Re-Signs with Los Angeles
Devin Ebanks re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, according to LA Times reporter Mark Medina. The one-year qualifying offer will pay Ebanks a little over $1 million next season.
Ebanks averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in his second season with the Lakers last year, and the 23-year-old swingman adds more depth with this re-signing. Ebanks did start in 12 games for the Lakers last season, but will obviously get less playing time now that Los Angeles has added more depth around him.
It was just another excellent move by the Lakers, snagging the athletic wing for a cheap contract. At worst, Ebanks gives them energy and defense off the bench. If he could become a more consistent jump-shooter, he’d be a far more useful weapon.
Cavaliers Likely to Match Offers on Alonzo Gee
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a three-year offer on the table for free-agent Alonzo Gee, according to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
Gee started in 31 games for the Cavaliers last season and averaged 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 42.1 percent from the field. He's a very sharp all-around player and the Cavaliers cannot afford to lose any more depth on the wing, so it'll be a surprise to see him go elsewhere.
He is also a restricted free agent, which means the Cavaliers have the right to match any contract offered him. Amico also mentioned this on Twitter when asked by a follower if the Los Angeles Lakers would go after Gee.
Doubt it. They know Cavs would match offer. RT @hecrey: Any chance Lakers go after Gee?
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoSFO) August 3, 2012
Milwaukee Signs Joel Przybilla
The Milwaukee Bucks announced on Thursday that they had agreed to a deal with veteran big man Joel Przybilla. According to Chris Haynes of Comcast SportsNet Northwest, the it's a one-year, $1.35-million deal.
Przybilla was one of the last serviceable big men on the market and gives the Bucks a backup center to likely play behind Samuel Dalembert and Ekpe Udoh. This is Przybilla’s second stint in Milwaukee—he played his first four seasons as a member of the Bucks. Last season with Portland he averaged 2.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.6 minutes a game.
I don’t expect Pryzbilla to end up as just another body off the bench. He’s clearly a big man in the twilight of his career, although if he goes out next season at least he ended it where he started.
Portland and Dallas were also in contention for Pryzbilla’s services, according to Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com.
Carlos Delfino to Sign with Houston, According to Report
Carlos Delfino will decide his NBA future now that the Olympics are over. ESPN’s Marc Stein had the first scoop.
Ran into Carlos Delfino today. He didn't want to go into specifics on eve of huge USA game but said he WILL sign w/NBA team after Olympics
— MarkStein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 9, 2012
The swingman Delfino spent the last month as a member of the Argentina Olympic squad, and played the last three NBA seasons in Milwaukee. He averaged 9.0 points and 3.9 boards for the Bucks last year while shooting 40.2 percent from the field.
Delfino told HoopsHype.com that he was disappointed that Milwaukee had not reached out to him. "I expected to have at least a conversation [with Milwaukee]. I ended up aggravating my injury because I wanted to play with the Bucks. It hurts me a little bit that they have not even reached out to me."
The Celtics, Rockets, Pacers and Hawks are all interested in the swingman Delfino, according to HoopsRumors.com. HoopsWorld.com reporter Steve Kyler says that Delfino has been seeking a multi-year offer but has yet to receive one.
Personally, I like Boston the best for Delfino. They could use another swing man who can both score and play defense. However, Celtics coach Doc Rivers told the Argentinian website Ole (translation credited to HoopsRumors.com) that while Boston was interested in Delfino, the Celtics would likely not be able to afford to sign him.
UPDATE: Delfino has agreed to a contract with the Houston Rockets, according to Houston Chronicle beat writer Jonathan Feigen.
Rockets have come to an agreement with guard Carlos Delfino on a one-year deal, with team option on 2nd season, per source.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) August 13, 2012
Delfino joins a Houston team that has already stockpiled guard/wing talent. Will he see much playing time with Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones all commanding significant playing time?