NBA Free Agents: Projecting Landing Spots for Best Remaining FAs

Ryan DavenportContributor IJuly 18, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Though the Dwight Howard sweepstakes has long been over, a number of quality NBA players remain unsigned and available for the 2013-14 season. 

Some are still on the market because their contract demands have been deemed unreasonable, while others are coming off injuries and need more time to demonstrate their health to potential suitors. 

Heading into the second half of the summer, here's a look at the most likely destinations for some of the best remaining free agents on the market. 


Brandon Jennings

Despite averaging 17.5 ppg in 2012-13, the Bucks have been unwilling to meet Jennings' contract demands. And, at least according to NBC Sports' Kurt Helin, Brandon Jennings could be on his way out of Milwaukee:

The Bucks are reportedly looking at potential sign-and-trade offers for Jennings, with Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times saying there are rumors of a talk with the Pistons (who have Brandon Knight at the point but might consider Jennings an upgrade).

The question is how much would the Pistons or any team be willing to give Jennings?

Jennings wanted a deal in the neighborhood of $12 million a year, similar to deals that Stephen Curry and Ty Lawson got a year ago.

If Jennings isn't dealt in a sign-and-trade, hypothetically a one-year return to Milwaukee is possible, but it's difficult to imagine Jennings wanting to take the $4.5 million qualifying offer, especially after two strong offensive seasons for a middling Bucks team. 

Regardless of the price, Jennings doesn't seem to want to be a Buck much longer, unless they're willing to pay him above market value, which is why the stalemate continues.

Prediction: Milwaukee.

He isn't going to bring back the return via trade that the Bucks will be asking for, so the team will do the next best thing by mending fences with the player. 


Greg Oden 

If Greg Oden's body manages to survive a full season, he will be a solid secondary player for whichever team signs him. The problem is, given the former No. 1 overall pick's bill of health, the chances of him even suiting up for half of his new team's games aren't overly promising. 

But after taking last season off, Oden is apparently feeling ready to return to basketball, and per Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, the former Ohio State star has no shortage of suitors:

Oden has had meetings with the Miami Heat,San Antonio SpursDallas MavericksBoston Celtics and Sacramento Kings, a source said. The Pelicans were hoping to meet with Oden here Wednesday, but he is returning to his hometown of Indianapolis on Tuesday and is expected to push the meeting with New Orleans officials to later this week, a league source said.  


Oden has a lot to weigh here, including what kind of role he'll be expected to play on each prospective team. Because while he undoubtedly wants to step right onto the floor and contribute, he must know he won't be pressured to overextend himself too quickly. 

He has all the tools to be a quality big man on a contending team, but if he were to go to a rebuilding team, such as the Celtics, he'll likely receive more responsibilities. 

Prediction: Miami.

The Heat have struck gold with a handful of recent reclamation projects, and Oden is a prime candidate for their next one. He'd provide a big defensive presence in physical postseason clashes, and more importantly, Oden knows it's easily his best chance at a ring. 


Nikola Pekovic

Coming off another solid season in Minnesota, Nikola Pekovic is arguably the most valuable player remaining on the open market.

At 27, Pekovic still has a number of quality years left in him, and since entering the NBA three seasons ago, he's only improved. He posted career-high figures in points, rebounds and blocks in 2012-13. 

If Minnesota wants to keep Kevin Love happy long term, retaining a player of Pekovic's talent is critical, so the team's management needs to be prepared to pay top dollar for him. 

That's why, at least according to NBC Sports, the Timberwolves are on the verge of handing the big man a four-year, $50 million deal, which isn't terrible, given how productive he's been. 

Prediction: Minnesota.

This one's a done deal.