NBA free agency is reaching its end, but there is still some decent buzz for us to dissect out there. Free agency is something that never really ends, as some players will be signed even after the season starts. Even now, while just about all of the big-name players have been scooped up, there are still many intriguing rumors out there.
Some of these players are amnesty victims who have been discarded by their old teams and are looking for a place to show just how good they are. Others are players who have shown promise, but have not been quite good enough to ensure their spot on a roster. Still others are solid NBA veterans who have had to put their negotiations on hold for various reasons.
The free agency wheel in the sky never stops turning, not even this late in the offseason.
Andray Blatche does not have the best of NBA reputations, but he hopes that his current free agency will give him a chance to fix that.
Blatche said that and more in a recent piece by Donna Ditota on Syracuse.com. Some of the more surprising tidbits of information found in the article are that Blatche would be willing to prove himself in the D-league and that he has lost 14 pounds so far this offseason.
It will be interesting to see who picks up Blatche, when they do and for how much money. If what he says is true, he will make the team that takes a risk on him very happy, as he will have more focus than he ever has in his career. The talent is clearly there, and that focus could be all that stands between him and legitimate NBA stardom.
Restricted free agent Alonzo Gee may have a new deal soon—but not quite yet.
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports, Gee and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been working on a three-year, $10 million deal that would keep the 25-year-old in Ohio. There were rumors the deal was signed, but the Cleveland Plains-Dealer reported otherwise.
The Cavaliers are Gee’s third team, but he appears to have found a home with them. He averaged 10.6 points per game last season and showed himself to be a promising young defender on the perimeter. He could be the other young wing of the future along with Dion Waiters that Kyrie Irving needs, but Cleveland has to sign him first.
Vernon Macklin did not make a huge impact in the NBA, and that is a big reason why he will not be in it next season.
According to the Turkish web site Salsa Basket and confirmed by HoopsHype, Macklin has signed with Gaziantep for next season. The report also stated Macklin did get NBA training camp invites and decided that he needed to be somewhere where he would play in order to showcase his talents.
This is clearly a move that Macklin hopes will get him back to the NBA after next season, but whether it will work or not is tough to know. Macklin did not do much for Detroit last season in his rookie year, and it is unlikely that he would have gotten much playing time wherever he ended up in the NBA this season. It is possible that this strategy could work better than staying in the states would have.
Darko Milicic is an unrestricted free agent and is proving that not all players in that situation are highly sought after. Milicic was amnestied by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was not claimed on waivers, although there does appear to be at least one team interested in him.
Unfortunately, that team is not in the NBA. According to Spanish site Encestando, Real Madrid of Spain is extremely tempted by Milicic and could be interested in bringing him to their roster.
Milicic has been a huge disappointed since being drafted No. 2 overall back in 2003. To this day, Milicic has been unable to even stay on an NBA roster, much less live up to the billing that such a high pick demands. It may be best for him to move on to an international setting, because he clearly is not good enough to do any better than he has in the NBA.
Yi Jianlian has not been a bad NBA player, but he has not been great either. That is probably why he would seriously consider the idea of leaving the NBA for good.
According to Spanish site Encestando, Jianlian is currently seeking a two-year deal with Real Madrid for next season. It is hardly a coincidence that both Jianlian and the aforementioned Darko Milicic are being rumored in connection with the same team.
My guess is that one will be on the roster for Real Madrid soon, leaving the other out in the cold. I hope Milicic gets signed by Real Madrid, mainly because Jianlian has a much better shot of coming back to the NBA. He has been decent during his time in the United States, and he could be a valuable bench contributor for a number of teams.