Unless you are a superstar player in the NBA, free agency can be a fickle and dangerous game that could dramatically alter the path of your career in a negative way.
With so few roster spots available and with clubs being limited in regards to the amount of money they can spend under the league’s salary cap rules, many serviceable players find themselves without a job every summer.
While veterans who have made millions of dollars during their career can be a bit more patient and wait until something opens up in the middle of the season, young players with only a few years under their belt are starting to get desperate for a contract as we head toward the end of July.
Let’s take a look at a few of these anxious talents who would jump at the chance to ink a deal—at any price—to play in the Association for the 2013-14 campaign.
Ivan Johnson, Power Forward
Johnson has established himself as one of the toughest players in the entire league over the past two seasons.
The former Atlanta Hawks forward was slotted towards the end of the bench and on the fringes of the rotation, but he often found a way to earn a respectable amount of minutes under coach Larry Drew.
Whether it was via his relentless energy and hustle, his imposing presence in the paint or his strong defensive instincts, Johnson was no stranger to making an impact.
Now, the 29-year-old is looking to continue his career and catch on with a team to play a third season in the big leagues.
Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Hawks would like to bring Johnson back, even after signing Elton Brand and Paul Millsap to bolster the frontcourt:
I'm told the Hawks are still showing interest in bringing back Ivan Johnson despite Paul Millsap signing. #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) July 16, 2013
His upside may not be through the roof, and his offense is extremely raw, but Johnson can be a valuable piece on any roster and should come with an immensely cheap price tag at this juncture.
Alan Anderson, Small Forward
Anderson had a chance to shine for an abysmal Toronto Raptors squad in 2012-13, putting up double-digit scoring figures and emerging as one the best three-point shooters north of the border.
He hit on 33.3 percent of his tries from beyond the arc, of which he took an average of 4.4 per game in just 23.0 minutes of play.
Almost half of his attempts came from three-point land, which goes to show that Anderson has to work on his shot selection and improve his ability to get to the rim in order to keep the defense honest.
Regardless, the long-range sniper could be an asset in the right system and projects as an ideal reserve on a contending team.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski noted that the Brooklyn Nets have emerged as suitors for the swingman:
With Bogdanovic staying overseas, free agent Alan Anderson is an emerging consideration for Nets back-up small forward spot, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2013
Anderson may not be a starter, but he can handle backup duties and fill in for injured or resting players.
For a minimum contract, this 30-year-old shooter can back up two positions (shooting guard and small forward) and should give some valuable minutes coming off the pine.
Brandan Wright, Center
Wright is an incredibly athletic center with long arms and the knack for putting the ball through the hoop.
The 25-year-old appeared in 64 games last year—mostly off the bench—and averaged 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for the Dallas Mavericks.
While those numbers aren’t all that impressive, they are when you consider that he compiled those stats in just 18 minutes per contest.
Where will Wright land?
The former North Carolina star has to work on being more consistent and playing more in control, but Wright could end up being a real weapon.
He told Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas that the Mavs are currently the favorites to re-sign him this summer, but anything could happen now that he’s still on the open market.
With roster spots getting filled quickly, it’s a surprise that Wright—who is also reportedly being pursued by the Hawks, Raptors, New York Knicks Orlando Magic, and Detroit Pistons, as per MacMahon—hasn’t signed a deal yet.
He earned the minimum salary the past two seasons, so he needs to act soon in order to secure a bigger payday for the coming season and possibly beyond.