NBA Free Agents 2012: Available Players That Can Still Make an Impact for Teams

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 17:   Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 17, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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While 15-man rosters are set and most of the interesting free agents on the market have been scooped up by teams, there are still a few intriguing players out there that could make an impact for NBA teams this season.

Be it due to character and health issues, or simply because they've lost a step, these players all should come at a discount and an understanding they'll be filling a limited role for any team that signs them. But all still have enough skills or a positive veteran presence and should make a difference.

Are they the 1992 Ford Escorts of the 2012 free agent class? Sure. Do they still run and will they help their potential employers get from Point A to Point B?

You better believe it.


Delonte West

West may be a bit of a strange fellow and have some character issues, but he's certainly a nice guard to have in a rotation to eat up a few minutes without seeing a huge drop in productivity.

In Dallas last year, West averaged 9.6 points and 3.2 assists in 24.1 minutes. He can play at either the point or shooting guard position, and on a team with plenty of veteran presence, he should perform and not be a distraction.

If I had a young team, I don't think I would want West, but if I had a veteran squad and needed another body off the bench, I could do a lot worse than West.


Josh Howard

For Howard, the question isn't talent—we've seen he has plenty of talent—it's whether or not he can stay healthy.

A healthy Howard is good for about 10 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes a game off the bench. While he'll likely never be the player that averaged 18 points and five rebounds for the Dallas Mavericks in 2008-09, I don't doubt he can still produce in a limited role on a team.

Howard has had his own past of character concerns, but I think those days are behind him. Don't be surprised if a team signs him in the next month. 


Derek Fisher

Does your team need a backup point guard? Is your team looking for a veteran presence in the locker room with a ridiculous amount of postseason experience? Are you willing to sacrifice quickness for savvy and a decent three-point shot?

Then Derek Fisher is your guy.

He's not nearly the player he once was—he's 37, you guys, what were you expecting?—but he's still a good guy to have around and plug in for 15 minutes a night. For a young team with an established point guard already in place, Fish is the right sort of presence to bring in.


Kenyon Martin

While Martin is another veteran who has clearly lost a step, he played fairly well for the Los Angeles Clippers last year when he was healthy, averaging 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and a 1.0 blocks in 22.4 minutes.

In similar minutes the year before in Denver he was good for 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, so he hasn't totally lost his game at the age of 34. For a squad needing another banger on the block to fill out the back end of the bench, Martin can step in and be productive.

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