Don't sleep on the NBA free agents not named Dwight Howard. Chances are other less-heralded players have a better chance to push a team over the top.
Howard could go to the Dallas Mavericks and instantly improve them, but the Mavs still need more pieces and Dirk Nowitzki to stay healthy to make the team a contender.
Howard would make the Houston Rockets instant title contenders, but the team has to get better defensively beyond D-12's potential impact as a rim protector.
Omer Asik is a very solid interior defender; with him as the starting center, the Rockets were 28th in the NBA in points allowed per game.
Houston needs more than Howard as well.
The following under-the-radar free agents could be the final piece of the puzzle for a team that was already a contender.
Mayo averaged 15 points per game for the Mavericks last season and made 40 percent of his threes. His ability to get his own shot and make the spot-up jumper makes him valuable to just about any team.
Sam Amick of USA Today says the list of interested clubs may be quite lengthy.
More free agent rumblings - OJ Mayo's likely suitors: Jazz, Bucks, Minnesota, Clippers, Blazers, Bobcats, Bulls.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2013
Contenders like the Chicago Bulls or L.A. Clippers who have a penetrating point guard—but also need a shooting guard—could benefit greatly from Mayo's talents.
He can play off the ball when on the floor with the lead guard, but also become the No. 1 perimeter scoring option while the ball-dominator rests.
If the Bulls or Clippers land Mayo, it will be one of the most impacting moves of the offseason.
Laugh all you want, but Oden will come cheap and with a very low-risk deal for the contender willing to roll the dice on his surgically repaired knees.
The Miami Heat need a player with Oden's talents.
In case you've forgotten what those are, I'll remind you: at seven feet tall and weighing 265-plus pounds, Oden is a shot-blocker, rebounder and wide body who can plug up the middle.
His presence would allow Chris Bosh to move back to power forward and take pressure off LeBron James on the defensive glass. Though Oden has played just 82 games since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007, he averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game for his career.
That production came in just 22 minutes of action per night. He's still just 25 years old.
Getting any production from Oden is purely dependent on him remaining healthy, but his skill set and sustained health would make the Heat pretty tough to beat again next season.
Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida confirms the Heat's interest:
What's coming out of Riley press conf is Heat want to keep their team intact for next year, including Mike Miller & will go after Greg Oden.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) June 26, 2013
Who is more apt to win a championship ring in 2013-14?
If Russell Westbrook hadn't gotten injured during the playoffs, how many people would call the James Harden trade to the Rockets a bad deal? The Oklahoma City Thunder could made it back to the NBA Finals with a healthy Westbrook and Kevin Martin in Harden's role.
We'll never know for sure, but we do know Martin can score.
For his career he averages 17.8 points per game. Last season that total dipped to 14 per game as the Thunder's sixth man, but most teams still recognize the skill set.
Per Marcus J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, as many as seven teams will vie for Martin's services.
Thunder G Kevin Martin expected to get interest from OKC, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Minnesota, Dallas and Detroit, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 30, 2013
If he values winning the most, the Thunder are his best option on the list. We'll have to see what his price will be and what teams are willing to pay.
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