NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top Perimeter Players on Open Market

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NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top Perimeter Players on Open Market
USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is in full swing, attention has landed upon Dwight Howard and a crop of high-profile big men. While the interior forces deserve their recognition, the perimeter players have begun to rise up and command attention of their own.

The question is, what's the latest buzz surrounding the top perimeter players on the open market?

With a fair blend of rising stars and established contributors, the NBA is witnessing an offseason unlike any in recent memory. While there may be a shortage of available superstars, there are elite defenders and sub-25 players with franchise player upside.

So how is the market treating these players?

 

Tony Allen, UFA

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 31

Experience: 9 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

13.26 PER, 26.7 MPG, 8.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.5 SPG

 

Tony Allen may not be the flashiest name on the open market, but in both 2011-12 and 2012-13, general managers voted him as the top perimeter defender in the NBA. With this in mind, it's not surprising to know that multiple teams are in hot pursuit of the veteran.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, countless contenders are looking to bring him on board.

As the Memphis Grizzlies plan to make a pitch to free agent Tony Allen on Monday, the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks are part of a growing cast of suitors pushing to sign the All-Defensive guard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Allen...has been inclined to remain with Memphis for the right offer, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

On top of the previously alluded to GM votes, Allen received more votes than any other player on the NBA's All-Defensive first team.

As a player with 91 games of postseason experience and an NBA championship ring to his name, the interest is expected. The Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies are all title contenders that value the power of defense.

The Milwaukee Bucks appear to be the outlier, as they're not quite a contender, but they do project to be a team that can offer a significant amount of money. With that being said, it's hard to imagine Allen leaving the Grizzlies.

Until he signs the dotted line, however, all general managers will be monitoring his status.

 

Monta Ellis, UFA

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 27

Experience: 8 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

16.30 PER, 19.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG

 

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs have all expressed interest in signing Monta Ellis. Per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning Newsthe Dallas Mavericks are also in play.

If that's not enough, Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Atlanta Hawks and Ellis have express mutual interest in joining forces.

Of all the teams listed, the Hawks and Suns appear to make the most sense. Chicago, New York and San Antonio are tight on cap space, while Denver is in need of a defensive presence more than they are another offensive force.

Atlanta and Phoenix, meanwhile, have the money to bring Ellis on board and an opening at shooting guard.

Atlanta may intrigue Ellis the most, as they have cap space and are under a reputable head coach in former Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer. Furthermore, Ellis would join an already settled All-Star in Al Horford.

The Suns may not have that same draw, but Ellis would certainly be "the man" in Phoenix—an attractive selling point for a player that has compared himself to Dwyane Wade.

 

Tyreke Evans, RFA

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 23

Experience: 4 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

18.16 PER, 15.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.4 SPG

 

According to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports, the New Orleans Pelicans have offered Tyreke Evans a four-year contract worth $44 million. Evans has meetings set with the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons, as well.

The world has since responded with words of shock and awe.

Regardless of what the NBA community may think, the deal appears to be on the table for the 2010 Rookie of the Year.

Amick reports that the Sacramento Kings are interested in retaining Evans, who is under restricted free agent status. What's unclear, however, is whether or not the Kings would be willing to match that lucrative deal worth an average of $11.0 million per season.

With the Pelicans placing Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon at their guard spots, Evans' future in New Orleans may come down to whether or not he wants to play small forward.

 

Andre Iguodala, UFA

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Position: Guard/Forward

Age: 29

Experience: 9 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

15.27 PER, 13.0 PPG, 5.4 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG

 

During 2012-13 NBA regular season, Andre Iguodala, struggled to find his niche with a new organization. Come the playoffs, Iguodala reminded the world of why he's an Olympic gold medalist, averaging 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.0 steals on a slash line of .500/.483/.720.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, NBA general managers are valuing his versatility and postseason prowess over a statistically underwhelming regular season.

Denver Nuggets free-agent forward Andre Iguodala has a long day of meetings scheduled in Los Angeles on Monday. He's expected to speak with the Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, a source told Yahoo! Sports.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports reports that Iguodala has already met with the Detroit Pistons, while Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News relays that the Dallas Mavericks are also in the mix.

To recap, that's seven teams—the Atlanta Hawks, Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Pistons, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings—with interest in a player that some had written as past his prime. Apparently our evaluation was premature.

Iguodala has been named to the All-Star and All-Defensive squads, won an Olympic gold medal and been the leader of a postseason team. Even as he ages, he remains one of the most versatile players in the NBA and a top tier defender.

It appears as if multiple teams with deep pockets are in the market for that type of multi-faceted contributor.

 

Brandon Jennings, RFA

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Position: Point Guard

Age: 23

Experience: 4 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

16.20 PER, 17.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG

 

In late May, Marc Stein of ESPN provided a report that the Milwaukee Bucks preferred to re-sign Monta Ellis over Brandon Jennings. With free agency upon us, however, it appears as if the Bucks have something different in mind.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Jennings has told the Bucks what he'd be willing to re-sign for and they plan on matching it.

Brandon Jenning’s representatives gave the Bucks an undisclosed contract amount Monday that he would be accept to stay with the team, a league source told Yahoo! Sports. The Bucks have said they plan to match any offer sheet Jennings signs.

Milwaukee also would prefer to come to terms before Jennings signs an offer sheet.

When a team claims they will match any offer sheet their restricted free agent receives, it's fair to say they're committed to re-signing him.

Anything could happen from here until the end of free agency, as Jennings is a 23-year-old point guard on the border of elite. His quality of play is top tier, but his consistency is a concern, but let's be real for a second.

We're talking about a 23-year-old point guard that's already proving to be one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NBA—Milwaukee would be foolish to let him walk.

 

O.J. Mayo, UFA

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 25

Experience: 5 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

14.00 PER, 15.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 40.7% 3PT

 

After an up-and-down season with the Dallas Mavericks, shooting guard O.J. Mayo appears to have won over some general managers. While he ended up declining in the second half of the year, Mayo was the primary reason Dallas kept their heads above water without Dirk Nowitzki.

Now an unrestricted free agent, all signs point towards the Los Angeles Clippers doing everything they can to bring him on board.

While there are rumblings that the Clippers would trade Eric Bledsoe to get the deal done, the Clippers may have other plans.

This shouldn't come as a surprise.

New Clippers head coach Doc Rivers ran a two lead guard set in Boston, with Rajon Rondo running point and defensive specialist Avery Bradley at the 2. Bradley stood at a generous 6'2", but still managed to latch onto taller guards and lock them down.

It appears as if Rivers is looking to create a similar system with Chris Paul and Bledsoe, but that beckons the question—where would that leave Mayo?

If the Clippers are going to hold onto Bledsoe, either he or Mayo would be delegated to the role of Sixth Man. With Jamal Crawford serving as the most viable trade piece, one of those two rising stars will be sent to the bench, which could pose issues.

Does Mayo want to sign on to be a sixth man when he could certainly start elsewhere? Would Bledsoe re-sign in 2014 if he were sent to the bench yet again?

Chances are, this will be a Bledsoe-for-Mayo deal if it gets done.

 

J.R. Smith, UFA

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 27

Experience: 9 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

17.67 PER, 18.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.3 SPG

 

J.R. Smith won the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year award after averaging 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals for the New York Knicks. Just as it appeared as if Smith was in line for a max contract, however, he shot 28.9 percent from the field during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns are all interested in signing the mercurial scoring guard.

With the Knicks trading for Andrea Bargnani and his contract worth more than $10 million per season, it will be difficult for New York to bring Smith back on board for the price he demands. It doesn't help Smith's cause that the Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr.

One day after the draft, Smith teased fans on Twitter with a bit of truth hidden in jest.

Don't hold your breath, Knicks fans—Smith is likely to be headed elsewhere.

 

Jeff Teague, RFA

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Position: Point Guard

Age: 25

Experience: 4 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

16.82 PER, 14.6 PPG, 7.2 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG

 

Prior to the July 1 deadline, the Atlanta Hawks extended a qualifying offer to point guard Jeff Teague to place him under restricted free agent status. Since then, a competitor has emerged in the hunt for Teague's services.

Could the Bucks' guard situation get any more complicated?

Drew's contract with the Hawks expired this summer and he thus signed on to become the head coach of the Bucks. Having coached Teague for three seasons, however, it appears as if Drew doesn't want to make the transition alone.

With the previously alluded to reports pertaining to Jennings' future with the team, however, it's hard to imagine Teague making the move to Milwaukee. With Chris Paul off of the market, it's also difficult to see the Hawks finding a superior alternative.

All signs point towards Teague returning to Atlanta.

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