Even though it feels like the NBA free-agency period should be over, there are still several big names out there that have gone shockingly unsigned. While they are still technically big names, even the buzz about their options is beginning to diminish as the season gets closer.
Players like Kenyon Martin, Josh Howard and Derek Fisher were big-time, important players earlier in their careers. Now, though, they each remain unsigned, which is alarming given how little time remains until the 2012-13 NBA season starts.
Training camp will produce injuries and problems that will spur many teams to look toward these free agents for help. However, those possibilities, while they exist, seem like a very shaky foundation for the future of an NBA career.
The best player who has yet to be inked to an NBA deal is Kenyon Martin. The 34-year-old power forward has built a very successful NBA career, but he is clearly having trouble finding an NBA home for the 2012-13 season.
According to Marc Spears on Twitter, Martin has turned down an international offer and wants to stay in the NBA:
Free agent F Kenyon Martin's preference is to play in NBA in 12-13 & he turned down offer from Israel Maccabi,his agent Andy Miller tells Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 27, 2012
As you can tell from the date on that tweet, very little buzz has come up about Martin recently. He played well for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2012-13 NBA season, which is why it is so perplexing that he is still unsigned.
One has to think that, eventually, he will be signed by a team to combat injury issues or something. However, he'll have to be willing to accept the minimum, which may be the reason he is still a free agent.
Josh Howard first made a name for himself as a swingman for the Dallas Mavericks during the early to mid-2000s. Two teams later, he is a 32-year-old veteran recovering from knee surgery and still looking for work.
According to a piece by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York from October 4, the New York Knicks are still interested in making Howard a member of their team. Zwerling also wrote that Howard is back to 100 percent after his surgery.
The age of this piece is concerning, and it does not bode well for Howard. Nothing else has really come out regarding him, making it difficult to judge how true this piece still is. It is clear now that he will probably not be added by any team until after the 2013-14 season has started, and even then, it may be a while.
It looks like retirement may be Derek Fisher's best option, considering that he is still a free agent and is 38 years old. However, there are at least possibilities out there for him, if not any probabilities.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Fisher is now eligible to be signed by the Los Angeles Lakers. It was thought that Fisher could not go back to the Lakers until March 2013, since they traded him in 2012. However, since the Houston Rockets bought out Fisher’s contract before he opted into his next year, he is a full-fledged free agent.
It's good to know that there are no rules blocking Fisher’s return to Los Angeles, but that does not mean it will happen. The Lakers basically have no money or room for Fisher on the roster right now, and they will only be able to sign him after securing a little of both.
Stein states in the above piece that both Fisher and the Lakers have interest, but that it will probably be awhile.
Chris “Birdman” Andersen made an impact on NBA fans when he burst onto the scene as a major part of the Denver Nuggets team that boasted Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony. However, he's now struggling to find a place in the NBA.
After it was rumored that both the Miami Heat and New York Knicks were interested in obtaining his services, it now appears that neither is. According to Alan Hahn of MSG Network, the Knicks do not return Andersen’s interest. And the Heat don't reciprocate either, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Andersen having another NBA resurgence is looking less and less likely ever since the Denver Nuggets amnestied him back in July. It may be his best bet to explore international options, as there is literally no other buzz about anyone else being interested in him.
Mickael Pietrus is another veteran free agent who has yet to find a team to play for. However, his problem is not a lack of interest. Rather, it appears to be his own pickiness at how much money he gets.
That report is over one month old, which cannot bode well for Pietrus and his negotiations. Whatever two teams were interested may not be interested anymore, especially since there has been no buzz about it in the meantime.
I still believe we will see Pietrus in the NBA during the 2012-13 season, but I have no clue where.
Mehmet Okur is one of the most enticing big-man options currently available in free agency right now considering his skill and size. However, there has been very little buzz recently regarding his NBA future.
According to ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, the Minnesota Timberwolves are no longer interested in Okur because he is reportedly unwilling to settle for the minimum, which is all the Wolves have to offer. Apparently, they have a similar stance toward Kenyon Martin as well.
Okur has not had any more rumors come out about his free agency since that one, which was published on September 12.
At 33 years old, he does not have much time left in the NBA anyway, so each week he goes without a team hurts him significantly. Now, he will probably be signed only after a few teams suffer enough injuries to be interested.
Another veteran looking for a place to hang his hat, Maurice Evans has reportedly garnered considerable interest from a number of teams. However, Evans won't sign a deal unless it's the one he wants.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld quotes Evans as saying that he “did not entertain any non-guaranteed contracts” and that he believes “there will be opportunities that manifest themselves after training camp.”
Kennedy went on to write that Evans believes he still has the skills to play in the NBA.
It makes sense that Evans would want a guaranteed contract, and he is probably right about getting a few chances as the season approaches. He proved during the past two seasons with the Washington Wizards that he could produce off the bench, and that is the role that teams will probably want him to fill.