At this stage in the NBA free-agent process, most teams are looking for smaller moves that could end up making a big impact down the road.
While there are high-profile players like Monta Ellis and Andrew Bynum still available, it is unlikely that either of these men will live up to what should prove to be lofty contracts. Instead, contending squads should be looking at less-heralded players whose contributions will exceed their cost.
It is not always easy to find free agents with this description, but here are a few players who should be targeted by contending squads in the upcoming weeks.
As someone who played a big role on the No. 3 team in the Western Conference, Corey Brewer is being forgotten about awfully quickly. He is unlikely to re-sign with the Denver Nuggets and instead is being pursued by the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
The 27-year-old wing has plenty of talent and would be able to provide a big scoring boost to whichever team is able to sign him.
Brewer averaged 12.1 points per game last season, which was the second-highest mark of his career, despite mostly coming off the bench. He is not a good shooter, but he has the athleticism to slash into the lane and finish consistently at the rim.
He has proven himself as an elite bench presence who can provide scoring in a hurry to any team that needs it. There are plenty of contenders in this position, and they could do much worse than adding Brewer for relatively cheap.
It has taken a while, but Tyler Hansbrough finally appears close to signing with a team, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
Hearing: Newly minted unrestricted free agent Tyler Hansbrough is in serious talks w/Toronto and moving closing to deal terms w/Raptors— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 9, 2013
Until he signs, however, there are plenty of squads who should be taking a look at the former UNC star.
Hansbrough has been a steady contributor for the Indiana Pacers for the last four years, averaging 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in only 19.7 minutes per game. He has not had much opportunity to shine behind David West and Roy Hibbert in the frontcourt, but he has done extremely well when given the chance.
In eight starts this year, the forward averaged 14.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He put up similar numbers as a starter in 29 games in the 2010-11 season.
The young player is a coach's dream with high-energy play every time he is on the floor. He could seriously help any team that gives him a chance.
As a restricted free agent, Jeff Teague has the opportunity to re-sign with the Atlanta Hawks. However, Stein reports that he could be sent to the Milwaukee Bucks:
Today looms as big day on Jeff Teague front. Strong word Bucks readying offer sheet for Teague. Hawks get 3 days to match IF sheet signed— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 10, 2013
If he goes to another team, it will likely be for a much smaller annual price than he deserves after a great season.
Teague has improved in each of his four years in the league and is now one of the better point guards out there, finishing the season with an average of 14.6 points and 7.2 assists per game. Only seven point guards had better numbers in each category.
He has also improved his shooting ability, making 35.9 percent of shots from behind the arc this year. This helps keep defenders honest while they also work to stop him from driving.
It is clear that Teague has become one of the top players in the NBA at his position, and his new team will be getting a bargain.
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