2013 NBA Free Agents: Players Who Can Put Contenders Over the Top
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Once the 2013 NBA draft is over, contenders will begin to look at Ray Allen and other players who can help them win a title next season.
The Miami Heat have perfected the system of grabbing veterans at a bargain, and other teams may try to follow suit.
These players aren't necessarily the top players on the market, but they are good enough to push a team over the edge. Players like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are going to make any team better, but the players below will be role players on their next team.
The salary cap and luxury tax will make it tough on free agents to get big deals. These role players could go to contenders at low cost.
Free agency won't being until July, but teams are beginning to see which players will fit with their rosters.
What players will join Allen on the list of free agents who can put contenders at the top of the league? Here's a list of players, all with different situations, who can help a team win a title.
Ray Allen, SG (Player Option)
Clarification: Ray Allen may not hit the free agent market. He has the ability to return to the Heat or opt out of his contract.
By now, everyone has seen Allen's shot that saved Miami's season. If not, look above.
That is the reason the Heat signed him last offseason. They have three star players, but they needed a player who could hit the big shot. They never thought he'd be put in a situation like that, but it magnified just how important a role player can be.
The 37-year-old shot 44.9 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range, so he still has plenty left. He even shot 40.6 percent from downtown in the postseason.
Whether it's timing or coincidence, Allen has won a championship in the first year with each of his last two teams.
Allen's option makes him different from other free agents. Members of the Heat will do everything they can to keep him in Miami. In fact, Michael Wallace of ESPN.com reported Heat players started to talk to him about the situation the night they won the title.
The veteran is looking for more titles at this point in his career. He was willing to accept a reduced role this past season, and he brought a good attitude to the team.
Nate Robinson, PG (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The most explosive player on this list is Nate Robinson. The 5'9" point guard comes off the bench and brings energy to the court.
He has accepted that he will have to come off the bench because he knows he will get his chances to play.
Robinson can do just about everything on offense. He shot over 43 percent from the floor, 40.5 percent from three-point range and nearly 80 percent from the line.
The Bulls needed a player like Robinson to step up without Derrick Rose. Robinson did enough to show that he can help any team. He won't be expected to run the team, but he can come on when a guard needs a rest, and he can put up points.
Robinson put up at least 15 points in seven playoff games with the Bulls this year. He was the biggest reason they were able to steal a game in Miami, but there wasn't enough offense for his team to knock off the champions.
He's never shot below 40 percent from the field in a full season, and he is one of the most prolific scorers on the market.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF (Restricted Free Agent)
The other guys on this list are well-known, but not many fans pay attention to Tyler Hansbrough. Playing in Indiana hasn't given him much exposure.
He has experience starting, but he has been used mainly as a role player. The Pacers are focusing on re-signing David West, but Hansbrough would see an increased role if the team is unable to re-sign West.
Hansbrough is all about energy. He's not the most talented player in the league, but he is a lot like Robinson in his style of play. He goes all out and does whatever he can to help the team. Hansbrough won't drop 30 points every night, but he has the ability to score if he has to.
The third-year player averaged 17 minutes, 7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 43.2 percent from the floor.
Indiana didn't use him as much as it had in past seasons, but he was a good sub when West needed to come out of the game.
Hansbrough's energetic style of play can help any contender compete in an intense playoff series.
*All stats are courtesy of NBA.com
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