NBA Rumors: Unheralded Role Players Still Searching for a New Team
The NBA has no shortage of stars, powerful names and standout role players who thrive in one specific area. For some reason, just as many players fly under the radar, despite providing contributions any team could use to build a contender.
The question is, who are the best unheralded role players still searching for a new home?
Certain players have fallen from grace, seeing their ability to contribute undermined by fan perception. Others have proven capable of contributing at a high level but haven't yet earned the reputation of a high-profile reserve.
One way or another, the following players have waited far too long to find a new home.
Daniel Gibson, UFA
Position: Shooting Guard
Experience: 7 Seasons
23.5 MPG, 7.8 PPG, 2.0 APG, 2.0 RPG, 40.7% 3PT
If we've learned anything over the past three seasons, it's that a title contender is only as strong as its three-point shooters. From the Dallas Mavericks' offensive onslaught to the Miami Heat's abundance of marksmen, we've seen it all.
According to Sam Amick of Fox Sports Ohio, Daniel Gibson is still weighing his options but won't return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Why not pounce on this opportunity to land one of the NBA's premier shooters?
Gibson isn't the most skilled player, but he's a career 40.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc. While he's not a strong defender, he's an effort guy that plays a tough brand of basketball and is reliable in late game situations.
If I really have to repeat it, he's a career 40.7 percent three-point shooter.
That level of marksmanship is tough to come by, especially from a player with positional versatility. If added to a contender with a reliable facilitator, Gibson could step up like Gary Neal during the 2013 NBA Finals.
Don't expect Gibson to be available for too long.
Gary Neal, RFA
Experience: 3 Seasons
21.4 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 39.8% 3PT
Gary Neal has spent the past three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. In that time, he's developed into one of the most dangerous shooters in the NBA, averaging 1.5 three-point field goals made per game on .398 shooting from beyond the arc.
And then there's the postseason factor.
Neal stepped up in a major way during the NBA Finals, scoring 24 points during Game 3. During the course of the series, he shot 46.7 percent from three-point range and established himself as a big-game player.
With countless teams in need of guard depth, Neal is bound to find a home at some point this summer. The question is, where will he go.
Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York reports that the San Antonio Spurs intend on bringing Neal back, but with the signing of Marco Belinelli, minutes will be tough to come by.
The worst-case scenario is that he serves as a third or fourth guard, spacing the floor and running the pick-and-roll. The best case is that he blossoms into a sixth man, becoming a more prominent force.
Either way, he's worth a gamble and should be off the market already.
Tyrus Thomas, UFA
Position: Power Forward
Experience: 7 Seasons
19.8 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.3 BPG
Tyrus Thomas was once hailed as one of the NBA's next superstars, pairing elite athleticism with an NBA body. Since then, he's underwhelmed as an NBA player. He lost his starting role and was moved to the back of the Charlotte Bobcats' rotation before being cut using the amnesty provision and clearing waivers.
He's also a 26-year-old freak athlete and above-average shot-blocker who can be acquired for cheap.
There's no way to defend Thomas' quality of play, but to say that his career is over would be premature. He played three-and-a-half years with a Bobcats organization that was allergic to veterans, thus making his learning curve even steeper.
Keep in mind, during his final full season with the Chicago Bulls, Thomas averaged 10.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.5 minutes with a Player Efficiency Rating of 16.81. If you did forget that, it's important to note that some teams haven't.
Per Frank Isola of The New York Daily News, the New York Knicks are interested in Thomas.
Knicks have interest in Tyrus Thomas, who was officially released by the Bobcats today.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 10, 2013
That's a situation worth monitoring.
Injuries are a concern and his reputation is tarnished, but for a contender that needs interior athleticism, Thomas would be a steal. The star potential may be gone, but he's a capable shot-blocker that still has age on his side.
If a contender can get him on a one-year deal with a team option, it would be a low-risk, high-reward type of move.
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