NBA Free Agents Who Should Be Signed Right Now
Just over two months into the 2012-13 NBA regular season, the free agent market is still ripe with big names and reliable talent. Whether unsigned due to financial expectations or a previous lack of a market for their abilities, each player has something to offer.
As for who they are, the following NBA free agents should be signed right now.
Some of the listed athletes have developed a reputation as players who are poisonous to a locker room. Others have battled injuries or expect too much of a financial commitment.
Regardless of why they're unsigned, that label must change. Now.
Experience: 10 seasons
Chris Andersen is a rebounding machine and a shot-blocking monster. If there isn't a market for that, then why believe in defense?
The Houston Rockets are a team that would benefit from Andersen's presence in the most significant manner. The proof is in the numbers, as they rank dead last in scoring defense.
Their No. 1 issue is that they have no one protecting the rim.
Andersen has a career average of 1.6 blocks in 17.8 minutes per game.
If not Houston, a team such as the Toronto Raptors could look to pad their interior defense. The issue is, a team that is approaching elimination from postseason contention may be inclined to embrace their youth.
Andersen's market interest appears to be limited, if existent at all. A shameful truth for one of the league's better interior defenders.
Position: Shooting Guard
Experience: Sixth season
With countless teams in need of a sharpshooting wing, there is certainly a market for Cook. In fact, if he lasted longer than a week as a free agent it would be surprising.
So who could use him most?
One team that makes sense is the Chicago Bulls, who rank dead last in the NBA with 4.5 three-point field goals per game. The Memphis Grizzlies are equally as inefficient at 5.1 per.
Both teams should consider the 25-year-old marksman to be a top target.
The most probable destination is the Minnesota Timberwolves. A major reason why is the fact that Minnesota is shooting a league-worst 29.8 percent from distance as a team.
Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 reports that Cook's camp plans on contacting the T-Wolves by the end of the week.
Even the Los Angeles Lakers could use Cook as a floor-spacing wing in Mike D'Antoni's system.
It would be a shame to see Cook's sharpshooting ways go to waste. Hopefully, an NBA franchise takes swift action to lock him up.
Position: Small Forward
Experience: Seven seasons
Ryan Gomes is a supremely athletic small forward with a career mark of 35.0 percent from three-point range.
The first three words that come to mind are "Los Angeles Lakers."
L.A. is in dire need of athleticism and three-point shooters. Gomes could complement Earl Clark and Devin Ebanks on the second unit as they compete to provide that type of presence.
Even if he only played between five and 10 minutes of filler work, Gomes' physical gifts are what L.A. needs.
Gomes is also a highlight reel waiting to happen, which is something L.A. has lacked since Shannon Brown departed in 2011. Gomes' ability to finish with power in transition would lead to in-game momentum.
Something the elderly Lakers desperately need.
The Portland Trail Blazers could also benefit from Gomes' presence. Their second unit 3 duties are currently split between Luke Babbitt and Victor Claver.
At this point, any depth is good depth.
Position: Power Forward
Experience: 12 seasons
Snow Badua of Sports Interactive Network Philippines reports that Martin could sign with the Philippine Basketball Association.
If an NBA team knows what's best, they'll lock Martin up before that can happen. Otherwise, one of our generation's toughest defenders will be lost.
Martin has career averages of 13.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals. Most recently, he averaged 22.4 minutes for the 2011-12 Los Angeles Clippers.
A team that went to the playoffs.
For his career, Martin has 100 postseason games. Out of those games 11 came last season, as Martin averaged 1.7 blocks in 17.5 minutes.
The Celtics still make sense, as do the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are young, rank last in scoring defense and 26th in blocks per game.
They also have stretch 4s in Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson that could benefit from Martin's mentorship.
No deal appears to be in the works for K-Mart. If one is to happen, however, Houston and Boston appear to be the most sensible options.
Position: Shooting Guard
Experience: 12 seasons
If Daequan Cook isn't your cup of tea, how about Michael Redd?
Redd played 51 games for the Phoenix Suns in 2011-12, averaging 8.2 points in 15.1 minutes per. During the final month of the season, it appeared as if he had earned himself a new contract.
Redd averaged 11.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc during April.
Unfortunately, no teams took the bait.
The same teams listed on Daequan Cooke's slide fit for Redd. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls.
With Brandon Roy injured, Minnesota could use a veteran shooter. For Chicago, they are familiar with Redd from his days with the Milwaukee Bucks.
It just so happens that the Bucks could use his services, as well.
Experience: 9 seasons
Marc Stein of ESPN reported on December 11, 2012, that Delonte West was a top target for the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, West has remained a free agent.
That must change.
West is far too talented a player to be without an NBA home. He can play both guard spots and is a career 37.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
With his ability to defend, handle the ball and shoot, why is it that an NBA team hasn't taken a chance on him?
For one, West was suspended twice by the Dallas Mavericks during the 2012 preseason (via Fox Sports). This led to his eventual release before the 2012-13 regular season could begin.
Even still, there is a market for West.
A large one.
The Utah Jazz will be without Mo Williams for at least six weeks after he received surgery on his right thumb (via The Salt Like Tribune).
Williams led the team in assists, ranked second in steals and ranked third in three-point field goal percentage.
West could step in and contribute in each of those areas. He could also play as an off guard with youngster Alec Burks or veterans Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley.
If not Utah, the Lakers still make sense. As do the Portland Trail Blazers, who lack even a slight resemblance of depth.
As long as he can prove the character issues are done with, West should come off of the open market.
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