Lost in all the hoopla over the beginning of the NFL and college football season is the fact that we are less than two weeks away from the beginning of NBA training camp.
For teams across the league, this is a time where rosters are finalized and take the shape of what we will see come late October. Championship contenders pick rotations, while lottery teams get a first glimpse of what their young studs will be able to do at the next level.
Essentially, it amounts to little more than a meet-and-greet for teammates in preparation for the 2012-13 season.
However, for players left on the free-agent market, this is a time for desperation. In most cases, if a player is not locked up before training camp, he will have to wait for an injury to get a job.
With the cavalcade of big names still out there on the market, this is truly crunch time for their NBA careers. For that reason, let's take a look at the latest rumblings going around the Association.
Still Hope for Derek Fisher in Oklahoma City?
Though point guard is certainly not a need with the Thunder—especially with talented young guards like Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor and Reggie Jackson on board—it seems that head coach Scott Brooks would like to have Fisher back in the fold.
When asked by the Los Angeles Times' Mark Medina whether there was any consideration to bringing back the 38-year-old, Brooks replied with the affirmative and gushed about his contributions last season.
Via the Los Angeles Times:
Derek Fisher, just being around him, I can tell why he's loved by so many people and why the Lakers won so many championships. He puts everything he has into every possession, every practice and every game. In our practices, he is 37 and he did everything we asked, every drill and every possession. He practices every day. It was great. I don't think we could've gone as far as we did without him. I thought he was terrific and I love him. I really have a lot of respect for him.
Nonetheless, compliments and hope aren't going to give Fisher a paycheck. At this point in his career, the 16-year veteran has little to offer other than veteran leadership. His 8.06 PER last season ranked 333rd of 352 eligible players as he shot just 37.1 percent from the field.
For a young team like Oklahoma City, he could be a fit. Otherwise, it might be best for Fisher to ride off into the sunset.
Knicks Not Interested in Tracy McGrady?
After getting a highly-publicized workout with the New York Knicks last week (via the New York Times' Nate Taylor), things were starting to look promising for McGrady.
Unfortunately, according to MSG Network's Alan Hahn, the 33-year-old forward's team hunt will have to continue. According to Hahn, the Knicks have little interest in bringing in McGrady after watching the workout.
Tracy McGrady did get a much-heralded tryout last week with the Knicks, but there doesn't appear to be great interest there. T-Mac also worked out for the Bobcats and Spurs.
Though McGrady does provide an inordinate amount of name value, it's not hard to see why the Knicks would pass. The team's biggest need is finding a backup for power forward Amar'e Stoudemire, a void McGrady cannot fill, and the former All-Star had the worst healthy season of his career with the Atlanta Hawks in 2011-12.
It seems reasonable that a team will eventually take a chance on McGrady, but time is running out fast.
Mickael Pietrus Still on the Timberwolves' Radar?
While McGrady is seemingly scrounging for a job in the free-agent market, Pietrus seems flush with offers. According to CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes, Pietrus has multiple offers he's weighing, including a "lucrative" one to head overseas.
Ostensibly, one of those mystery offers leaked Wednesday—ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson reported that Pietrus is on Minnesota's radar.
Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) September 19, 2012
On paper, the pairing makes sense. The Timberwolves have been searching for a cheap wing player seemingly all offseason, and Pietrus is in no position to request more than the veteran's minimum.
The 30-year-old small forward averaged just 6.9 points per game last season and struggled to defend opposing wings due to a bothersome knee. Pietrus had surgery on the knee earlier this offseason and could be due for a bounce back season if he's fully healthy.