The NBA offseason is slowing down, but several teams are still in the market to improve.
Although there are no more Chris Pauls, Dwight Howards or even Metta World Peaces available, there are still lots of important players—whether they are attainable via free agency or the trading block—who still may be on the move.
Don't underestimate the value of some of these late-July acquisitions, either.
You won't be seeing any news on All-Stars, but role players prove vital to championship runs year in and year out, and it's those guys who are currently being speculated on around the league.
Let's take a look at the latest talk.
Greg Oden Has Lots of Suitors
We're not quite back at the same level as when he was at Ohio State getting ready to make the jump to the NBA, but there are a slew of teams eager to acquire Greg Oden.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, the New Orleans Pelicans are the newest squad to jump into the race:
Pelicans expect to meet free agent center Greg Oden next week, sources told Y! Sports. Pelicans poised to make offer close to $3 million.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2013
And as ESPN's Marc Stein notes, it's a crowded race:
Mavs also continue to chase Greg Oden along w/Heat/Pelicans/Spurs but felt they HAD to land Dalembert after Dwight to HOU & passing on Bynum— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 17, 2013
Yes, it's easy to make jokes about Oden.
"Oh, he's more fragile than a piece of china in a bull store. Err, something like that. Ha, I'm funny"
How many games will Greg Oden play next season?
But while it's true that Oden has a very poor history of injuries, that's also the reason why he will come at a discount and represent very little risk for whoever signs him.
Worst-case scenario, he isn't able to stay healthy and doesn't make much of an impact. Oh well.
Best case scenario, though, he stays healthy and provides the elite shot-blocking and rebounding that he gave glimpses of back in 2010.
At just 25 years of age, there is plenty of time for a comeback.
Brandon Knight Staying With the Pistons
There have been rumors circulating around Detroit Pistons combo guard Brandon Knight all summer, but president (not the president. Just the Pistons president) Joe Dumars quickly squashed those.
News comes courtesy of Vincent Goodwill at The Detroit News:
“The only thing left is trade possibilities, and that door will continue to be open,” Dumars said. “It’ll continually stay open.”
As for the rumor mill that’s linked the Pistons with point guards Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks) and Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics), he coyly debunked both reports — which had Brandon Knight as the common denominator as trade bait.
“Bogus, bogus. No conversations.” said Dumars about the Jennings theory before turning his attention to Boston. “I haven’t had any conversations with (Celtics GM) Danny Ainge about Brandon (Knight).”
The Pistons have been one of the busiest bees in the league this summer, bringing in Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups and three draft picks—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva.
Counting the rooks, they have 16 players on the current roster.
Nevertheless, it doesn't sound like Knight, who averaged 13.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 31.5 minutes last year, is going anywhere.
The Mike Miller Sweepstakes
Mike Miller often looks like he just got hit with a Stone Cold Stunner, limping around the court in what seems like immense pain, but he consistently plays an important role.
For the second year in a row last season, the 33-year-old came up ginormous in the Finals, averaging 5.3 points while shooting a scorching 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from beyond the arc. He even hit a trey without a shoe!
Nevertheless, the Heat stood to save a lot of tax money by amnestying him, so they made the move, getting rid of the popular veteran:
OFFICIAL: The @MiamiHEAT have waived Mike Miller per the NBA's Amnesty provision.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) July 16, 2013
Already, the Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as a potential suitor, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Y! Sources: Cleveland's considering an amnesty waiver bid to claim forward Mike Miller. http://t.co/HO6Xgw0jsm— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 17, 2013
Miller isn't just a nice weapon off the bench. He is good friends with LeBron James, who very well may hit free agency next summer.
The Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen noted that the Houston Rockets are also interested in Miller:
W/ Marcus Camby bought out, Mike Miller waived Rockets have interest in both, source said. Part of strategy shift from prospects to win now.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 17, 2013
It's not exactly surprising that two teams that have made some of the biggest improvements to their starting lineups this summer are now looking to add depth.