NBA Free Agents 2012: Top Veterans Still on the Market

Isaac BerkyCorrespondent IIOctober 26, 2012

Mar 31, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes (00) during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Hawks 95-90. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

With the NBA's opening day just four days away, there are still several NBA veterans who find themselves without a place to hang their jerseys. As teams start to solidify their rosters preparing for the start of the regular season, they might just want to take a look into the free agent pool.  

While there are no true game changers left on the market, there are several players available who could be very beneficial additions to an NBA roster. Here's a look at some of the top free agents who are still out there and on whom teams might want to take a chance.  


Josh Howard

Howard, who spent last season in Utah, is a solid veteran swing man that teams can count on to solidify lineups. Despite coming off of an off-season surgery, Howard feels he is ready to benefit any team that is willing to bring him in. 

After a torn ACL limited his 2010-11 season, Howard hoped that his injury woes were done, but a bone chip in his left knee forced him to have off-season surgery.  

"Over the years, that was a big part of my game, cutting and getting to the basket and being able to stop on a dime. I've been able to show that ability again," Howard told USA Today in an interview.

Howard hopes that the off-season surgery to remove the chip will help him regain the form he had during his days in Dallas. During his 2007-08 season in Dallas he averaged 19.9 points per game.

The Knicks, Bulls and Bobcats all have shown interest in Howard.  New York might very well be the best fit for the veteran small forward though.  Howard would be a good fit in New York as a backup for Carmelo Anthony

Howard brings a versatile offensive presence off the bench, as well as a solid defensive presence that the Knicks could benefit from. 


Kenyon Martin

Martin, a 12-year veteran, struggled offensively last season for the Clippers. Martin spent the first 11 years of his career with the Nets and Nuggets before signing with the Clippers last offseason. Martin's significant experience is going to be a key for whatever team ends up signing him.

Several knee surgeries over the years have slowed down Martin, but he still has the ability to play shutdown defense. Martin can provide key minutes off the bench for any team. 

Several teams have reportedly shown interest in signing Martin so far, but no one has wanted to pay him more than league minimum.  

The Knicks, Celtics and Lakers have all repeatedly made offers to Martin. So far, though, all these teams have been hesitant to reach deeper into their pockets to bring in the veteran.  

If Martin wants to be playing anywhere this season, he is most likely going to have to be willing to let his pride take a hit. Unless a team becomes injury decimated, Martin will be forced to settle for a minimum contract to be playing in the NBA this season.


Derek Fisher

The former Laker has been most often tied to his old team this offseason.  Fisher was the third leading scorer on the Lakers three-peat team behind Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.  He is the only player not named Kobe Bryant to win all five NBA titles in recent Laker history.

Fisher has become known for his ability to shoot from beyond the arc throughout his career, most famously for his game winning shot with 0.4 seconds remaining.  

Despite having a long productive career, Fisher appears to be on his way out of the NBA. His skills have started to diminish as he has gotten older, but the intangibles Fisher brings to a team are worth his salary. 

Fisher has not drawn interest from many teams, but his work ethic, attitude and experience are going to be the key factors in this veteran getting a contract.

While the Lakers appear to be the most likely team to sign Fisher, where he would back up Steve Nash, do not be surprised if another team reaches out to Fisher because of his experience.  Fisher could be a valuable mentor for any budding young star if a team is willing to take a chance on him.