NBA Free Agents 2013: Best Big Men Still Available
Every team would benefit from an interior presence, whether it's keeping the paint clear on defense, or helping to get second chances on offense.
None of the big men left are as good as Howard, but they can all make big contributions to contenders.
We'll break down the best big men still available below.
Elton Brand quietly had a good season for the Dallas Mavericks last year. Averaging 21.2 minutes per game, Brand scored 7.2 points and added six rebounds per game.
He's obviously not the player he once was, but he can offer really solid minutes off the bench.
One team that's interested is the New York Knicks, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. After trading Marcus Camby, the Knicks are in dire need of a defender who can take some of the defensive load.
Berman also reports that the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers have expressed interest in Brand.
Brand is from the New York area, so signing with the hometown Knicks would make sense. He would probably the get the chance to play the most minutes in New York. With Amar'e Stoudemire still a question mark, and Andrea Bargnani a defensive sieve, Brand could play vital minutes protecting the rim for the Knicks.
He would also help keep Tyson Chandler fresh. Chandler was charged with keeping the paint clear, but too often had to do it on his own, and noticeably wore down as the year went on.
Brand would add a capable defender to a Knicks roster that needs all the defensive help it can get.
Andrew Bynum has a world of talent, but he is a huge unknown. He missed all of last season with a knee injury, and while, according to ESPN, he should be ready for training camp, there's no guarantee that he will be able to play like he did before the injury.
In 2011-12, Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, along with 1.9 blocks per game. When healthy, he can be a dominant big man.
The problem is, we don't know if he'll be able to reach that plateau. Still, it won't stop teams from trying to find out.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks are all interested in Bynum:
Mavs' post-Dwight interest in Bynum is legit. They ARE pursuing him. Yet it's been made clear they'll make detailed/careful evaluation first— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2013
Team to watch in chase for Andrew Bynum: Cleveland. Hearing Cavs not only have legit interest but can also make lucrative one-year offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 8, 2013
Another Andrew Bynum update: ESPN has learned that Bynum has also scheduled face-to-face recruiting meetings in Atlanta & Dallas this week— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 8, 2013
If Bynum is healthy, he will be a steal. He is a top talent and would instantly improve all of the teams mentioned above. He would be especially intriguing in Cleveland, where he would team with Kyrie Irving to form a dynamic pick-and-roll duo.
Still, it's a risk. The Philadelphia 76ers got nothing out of Bynum and had to give up intriguing pieces in Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic.
While Bynum won't cost anything in players, he is the ultimate risk in basketball today. It's a move that could help a team win a championship. It could also get a general manager fired.
Teams will also be interested in a big man of Bynum's talent, since they do not come around often. But Bynum comes with a huge buyer beware tag.
Kenyon Martin joined the New York Knicks towards the end of the season and was an instant contributor. In 18 games, Martin averaged 7.2 points on 60.2 percent shooting as well as 5.3 rebounds a game. He played solid defense and offered great energy off the bench.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, multiple teams are interested in the veteran big man:
Teams interested in Kenyon Martin: Lakers, Clippers, Spurs, Knicks, Nets, source says— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 3, 2013
Martin's days as a starter are over, but he can play solid minutes off the bench. He's a good rebounder, and can defend three positions, and is effective in the pick-and-roll game.
The Spurs are an intriguing fit, as Martin could take some of the defensive load off of Kenyon Martin, keeping him fresh for the stretch run.
Whatever team he ends up with, Martin will offer a solid veteran presence and good defense.
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