Entering the final month of the 2012-13 NBA season, teams are gearing up for the playoffs and focusing on what needs to be done to make a deep postseason run.
But there's still some chatter about what will become of some breakout players this season, in addition to the usual grumblings about some of the top free agents like Josh Smith and the two big men out in Utah.
This summer features a pretty good crop of free agents, and one of the most coveted names is a rather unlikely one in Washington's Martell Webster. Let's give a look at Webster's value and more in this week's NBA Rumor round up.
John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that teams are going to be inquiring about combo forward Thaddeus Young this summer. Young is playing a career-high 35 minutes per game this year, and he's taken advantage of the increased role to post career-high numbers, including 15.3 points per game on 52.9 percent shooting.
But Young has quietly been a very good player for the last few seasons. Since 2010-11, Young has posted a PER of over 18, well above the standard for the players at his position(s).
Young is also using his length and athleticism to grab more rebounds—he's grabbed a very respectable 7.7 per game, including 2.4 per night on the offensive end.
He's signed through 2014-15 at an average of $8.4 million per year and there's a team option for the 2015-16 season for nearly $10 million, but Young has shown this year he's capable of being at least a fringe All-Star and starter on most NBA teams.
Up until the 2012-13 NBA season, Martell Webster had never posted a Player Efficiency Rating higher than 12.5 in his eight-year NBA career. Webster was quickly falling into the realm of high lottery busts prior to this season, but he's performing at career-high levels in nearly all major statistical categories.
Webster is averaging double-figure scoring for the first time since 2007-08, and he's shooting a career high 45.7 percent from the floor. He ranks No. 3 in three-point percentage, at 45.3 percent this season.
Over the last 24 games, the Wizards are 9-3 when Webster scores at least 15 points.
John Wall realizes how valuable that makes the 6'7" swingman. Wall told Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner that he had already talked to Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, and that it was an "easy, hands down" question as to whether the Wiz should re-sign Webster.
Webster also said he would love to remain in Washington, which would have been the furthest thing anyone would've expected to hear, if not for the fact that the Wiz suddenly appear as though they are an NBA-caliber franchise again.
J.J. Redick was quietly having his best career year for a rebuilding Orlando Magic team, and interest in his services was immense at the trade deadline. Bucks GM John Hammond ultimately gave Rob Hennigan what he wanted, and the Magic obtained a guy the Bucks had been hiding on their bench in combo forward Tobias Harris.
The Bucks still seem more than pleased with the acquisition of Redick, and Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times reported that the Bucks had offered Redick a five-year $40 million offer. J.J. Redick, ever one to be somewhat facetious, said "That's news to me," when asked about the veracity of that by Woelfel.
Redick's agent Arn Tellum was said to have mentioned $10 million as the price tag for Redick this summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Accordingly, the reports that the Bucks had managed to sign him at an average of $8 million did seem a bit suspect, especially considering Redick still really isn't clear as to what his market value is.
He's posted the seventh highest PER among 2-guards, but he's at best a very good role player. As to how much teams are willing to pay for the consummate sixth man and a sharpshooter like Redick, we'll find out this summer.
Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio reported that the Atlanta Hawks will make it a priority to re-sign Josh Smith this summer. The real matter will be whether Smith wants to return to a team that has failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs in his eight postseason appearances with the team.
Smith has yet to make an All-Star team, and despite the widespread reputation of being one of the best game-changing defensive talents at the 4-spot, there's not a lot of certainty that he's truly worth a max-contract.
The Hawks will likely have to give Smith the max if they want to keep him, and Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD said on the Dig N Shot show that Smith will draw interest this summer from the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and his hometown Hawks.
Kennedy also said Smith's reported interest in the Bucks was only under the condition that he play with the high-scoring backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Jennings is a restricted free agent, and Ellis has an early termination option. That makes any trio of Ellis, Jennings and Smith a very speculative grouping.
According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio, the Utah Jazz will keep either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap, but not likely both. Jefferson will require a max-contract, while Millsap will likely command something in the neighborhood of $12 to $15 million a season.
The Jazz can't afford to keep both, and it seems that the way to go would be to opt to sign Millsap, especially given the fact that Enes Kanter has shown such immense promise at the 5-spot.
Derrick Favors has lingered behind Millsap, but the Jazz have also experimented a lot with big lineups which feature Favors, Millsap and Jefferson on the court together. It's doubtful that Utah would just abandon the notion of having some depth in the frontcourt.
That's what has enabled them to stay afloat in the tough Western Conference despite having one of the worst backcourt rotations, not only in the league but in recent league history.