NBA Rumors: Latest Updates on Top Remaining Free Agents
With the 2012 NBA free-agency period now fully winding down, there are still some big names (or guys who used to be big names) left on the market searching for a job.
While none of these players are likely to put a big swing on the 2013 NBA championship race, it's these type of role players that could save a season. By providing depth and often elite singular skills, these guys give starters rest opportunities and don't put a team in a precarious position when on the court.
Giving coaches that peace of mind in the NBA's marathon 82-game season is invaluable.
Who are these players, and where are they headed? Follow along as we take a look into the latest rumblings going around the Association.
Lou Amundson Heading Overseas?
The perennially underrated Amundson, who spent last season as a reserve with the Indiana Pacers, has reportedly drawn interest earlier this offseason from the New York Knicks (via ESPN) and Charlotte Bobcats (via Fox Sports' Chris Tomasson).
But as the free-agency period drags on, it's seeming like overseas teams may be the most aggressive in pursuing the 29-year-old power forward.
Via Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick:
Forward Lou Amundson - he of the high-energy, doing-the-dirty-work six-year career - continues to weigh his NBA options but is also talking to teams overseas. The Greek team Panathinaikos of the Euroleague is among said teams, source says. Amundson, who played a reserve role in Indiana last season, is confident he'll find a good spot in the league but is looking at everything.
If Amundson does head overseas, the cash teams like Panathinaikos can offer will almost certainly be a factor. We're at the point in the offseason where very few teams are giving anything out other than training camp invites and minimum contracts. Amundson isn't the type of name that garners the "must pay" distinction.
Regardless, whichever team signs the scrappy forward will be getting value that stretches far beyond his 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game from last season.
Birdman to the Miami Heat for the Minimum?
After being linked early on to Greek clubs Olympiacos (via athlitikanea.gr, translated by Google Translate) and Panathinaikos (via prasinanea.gr, translated by Google Translate), it seems that defensive stopper Chris Andersen would rather stick in the United States.
And it seems like the 34-year-old, who was amnestied by the Denver Nuggets earlier this offseason, has a first choice: the Miami Heat.
The Heat also have attracted the interest of free-agent center Chris Andersen, who recently bypassed a lucrative European offer and is believed to be amenable to a Heat offer at the NBA minimum salary, which is all the Heat, operating above the NBA salary cap, have available. Andersen was released earlier this summer by the Denver Nuggets under the league's amnesty provision that eases a team's luxury-tax liability.
On paper, this is a perfect fit for both sides. Miami is absolutely desperate for some substance in the defensive interior, and despite Birdman's offensive liabilities, he's still one of the best bench defenders in the league.
For Andersen, this may be his last good chance to become an NBA champion. The Heat come into the 2012-13 season as prohibitive favorites in the Eastern Conference, and the team won't look for him to do anything spectacular, just to keep his head down and contribute.
If Andersen is willing to take the veteran's minimum, there's little reason this marriage shouldn't happen.
Five Teams in the Mix for Michael Redd
A sweet-shooting veteran guard who is widely regarded as a great locker-room presence and won't command much (if anything) more than the veteran's minimum?
Yep, Michael Redd is pretty much any contender's dream. And, according to a report from Fox Sports' Sam Amico, there is no shortage of playoff teams hoping to bring in the 33-year-old.
Apparently no interest from Cavs on Ohio guy Michael Redd, but teams mentioned as possible suitors include the...
Wizards, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Bulls, and yes, Thunder, who still have a spot available in the backcourt after Derek Fisher's departure.
In his first (and likely only) season with the Phoenix Suns last season, Redd proved he could still fill the bucket and stayed healthy for the first time since 2007-08. While Redd's 8.2 points per game were wholly unspectacular, he put up those points in just 15.1 minutes a night. That rate nearly makes Redd a 20-point scorer in per-36 minute splits.
For teams looking for a cheap bench threat, there are a cavalcade of worse players to throw a couple million at.
Andray Blatche Just Wants to Play Basketball
While Redd seemingly has a never-ending list of potential suitors, the same cannot be said for Andray Blatche.
The recipient of the Washington Wizards' amnesty waiver distinction, Blatche is at the point where he's willing to quite literally play anywhere, including the D-League.
My dream destination right now would be back on the court. For real. Just to get back on the court. It’s something I love to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Heat or the Spurs or the D League. Whatever. As long as I’m back on the court playing ball.
I mean, I love the game. I’m a fan of the game. I love playing basketball. That’s the only thing I’ve been doing since I’ve been little. Basketball is something that is very, very important to me.
For a player who averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in 2010-11, this offseason marks the culmination of a year-long rude awakening.
Once thought to be one of the best young big men in basketball, Blatche's attitude and lack of consistency have soured his reputation in the league. Still just 26 years old, a player with Blatche's potential will probably get a chance from a big-needy team.
But after being the worst player on the entire Wizards roster last season (via 82games.com), Blatche may have to prove that his potential still exists before anyone takes the chemistry risk.
Derek Fisher to the Spurs?
According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, it would "not surprise" him to see the veteran point guard wind up a Spur before the offseason concludes.
After what was probably the worst season in his career last year, Fisher undoubtedly wants to atone for that with (likely) one final run in 2012-13.
Once public enemy No. 1 in San Antonio after knocking down a buzzer-beating shot with 0.4 seconds remaining in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals, Fisher is now a fit both in basketball and personality terms.
The Spurs are in need of a true backup point guard for Tony Parker, and Fisher has more than a requisite amount of playoff experience. He's also a strong, steady leader who can come in and add yet another fantastic mentor to the Spurs' burgeoning young core.
With Fisher not having an abundance of suitors and the Spurs assuredly desperate to atone for their Western Conference finals collapse last season, this could become a perfect swan song for the 38-year-old.
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