NBA Free Agents 2013: Buzz on Best Remaining Players
While most of the top 2013 NBA free agents have settled into new homes, there are still good players available who could make significant contributions to their new clubs.
What's the latest buzz on the "best of the rest"? Read on to find out.
A number of teams are banking on Greg Oden returning to the game and being productive. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, there are three teams interested in the former No. 1 overall pick's services:
Story going online: ESPN sources say Greg Oden will be in Las Vegas this week for sitdowns w/officials from Mavericks, Kings & Pelicans— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 15, 2013
His career has been stalled due to numerous knee injuries. He played just 82 games over two seasons for the Portland Trail Blazers, where he averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
Before the injuries, Oden was considered to be the next great center and was drafted ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA draft.
However, even if he is healthy, it's unclear if he will be able to regain that promise. For what it's worth, former Ohio State forward and current San Antonio Spurs draftee DeShaun Thomas told Bob Finnan of the News-Herald that Oden looks "unbelievable":
Man, he looks unbelievable. He's running. He's lifting weights. You might be seeing a comeback. He looks like he's ready to go. He's running, getting in shape. I'll tell you one thing. For a big 7-footer that's all he does, running and getting in shape. He's looking right.
Oden, at his best, is a game-changing defensive center. If he is able to contribute, he could, at the least, provide quality defense off the bench, with a chance to transition into a starting role. For a team like the Pelicans, he could team up with Anthony Davis to form a menacing duo around the rim.
Veteran sharpshooter Mike Miller was waived by the Miami Heat under the amnesty provision, and now that he's cleared waivers, the Oklahoma City Thunder have become the front-runners, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Oklahoma City has emerged as a frontrunner to sign free agent Mike Miller, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 18, 2013
They are not the only teams interested. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, there are three additional teams interested in his services:
Mike Miller cleared amnesty waivers & is a free agent. Spurs, Thunder, Grizzlies & Rockets among teams with interest in signing him.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 18, 2013
Miller averaged 4.8 points and 1.7 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game for the Heat. He also shot 41 percent from beyond the arc.
One potential complication for Miller is that he's considering having fusion surgery to repair bulging discs in his back, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Miller, for his part, told Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald that he is feeling healthy:
My body feels better now than it has in a long time. It’s like the Pringles theory. Once you get that taste, you’ve got to have more.
If he is healthy, Miller can provide shooting off the bench, as well as veteran experience. For the Thunder, who could use some depth scoring to take pressure off of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he could end up being a valuable bench player.
Big man DeJuan Blair has interest in signing with the Washington Wizards, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY:
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Wizards are interested in a sign-and-trade with the Spurs.
Blair's numbers have declined in the past year, and he played only sparingly for the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason. In 2011-12, Blair averaged 21.3 minutes per game, scoring 9.5 points and grabbing 5.5 rebounds. This past season, he averaged 14 minutes per game, scoring 5.4 points and grabbing 3.8 rebounds.
In the postseason, Blair averaged just 6.3 minutes per game, scoring 3.9 points.
Blair could re-find his game in Washington. He lost significant minutes to Tiago Splitter in San Antonio, but would represent an upgrade over Jan Vesely, who has been a disappointment thus far.
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