2013 NBA Free Agency: Breaking Down Where the Best Remaining Options Will Land
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Most of the big-name free agents in the NBA have found a home for next season, whether they chose to stay in the same city or sign elsewhere for more money or to have a better chance of winning a championship.
While Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Jarrett Jack and Tony Allen have inked new deals this offseason, there are still other promising free agents available.
There are savvy veterans with championship experience on the market such as sharpshooter Mike Miller and power forward Lamar Odom.
Injuries have limited the careers of Greg Oden and Kenyon Martin, but both could potentially start for the right team.
Brandon Jennings is a point guard who could be an attractive free agent for teams looking to add a potential starter or depth at the position.
Here are the some of the best remaining unrestricted free agents and the teams that have shown an interest in them.
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The defending champion Miami Heat used the amnesty provision to waive shooting guard Mike Miller "as part of a financial move that will save them as much as $17 million on luxury-tax payments next season," according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
Even though Miller has moved out of the everyday starter role he once played earlier in his career, he was a key contributor to the Heat's back-to-back NBA championships. He was 47-111 from behind the arc in the past two postseasons.
Windhorst reported that Miller cleared amnesty waivers, and several contenders have expressed interest in the 13-year veteran. The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers are among the interested teams.
ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted that the Thunder and Grizzlies are the front-runners for Miller.
Houston & Denver still hanging around in Mike Miller chase, but Thunder & Grizz appear locked in duel at front of the line for sharpshooter— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 22, 2013
Oklahoma City makes the most sense for Miller. He expressed his intentions of signing with a contender, according to Windhorst, and the Thunder will have available minutes at shooting guard after losing Kevin Martin to free agency.
The pieces are in place for Oklahoma City to make another NBA Finals run, and Miller would be another important piece of the puzzle. Miller scored 23 points in the decisive Game 5 of the 2012 finals against Oklahoma City, and surely he would like the opportunity to have a similar performance next summer against the team that recently waived him.
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The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, Greg Oden, is eyeing a comeback after not playing in the league since the 2009-10 season.
The Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks have expressed interest in the seven-footer, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman and Marc Stein.
Luckily for Oden, he has a number of different options. The Heat and Spurs are among a handful of legitimate championship contenders for next season. New Orleans, Sacramento and Dallas are rebuilding, which means there wouldn't be as many expectations for him. Consequently, there would also be less pressure from the media.
Oden signing with Miami would be an ideal scenario for both sides. The Heat could finally sign a true center instead of playing Chris Bosh or Chris Andersen at the 5 all of the time, and Oden would have a relatively cheap price tag. Oden would get the chance to play in a winning environment where he would be only be expected to rebound and play defense in a supporting role.
ESPN reported that Miami is considered the leader in the pursuit of Oden.
Miami has actually been considered a leading contender for Oden for months after Heat president Pat Riley hosted him for a two-day visit earlier this year. That was even before Oden's comeback, through workouts back home in Indianapolis or at Ohio State, progressed to the serious stage it has reached now.
Brian Windhorst wrote that Miami could potentially be a big player in free agency next summer. The Heat could sign Oden to a one-year contract with a team option for a second year if they want to have as much cap space as possible in 2014.
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All indications are that the New York Knicks are close to re-signing power forward Kenyon Martin. According to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com in an interview with New York GM Glen Grunwald, talks between the Knicks and Martin are "going pretty well."
"We are still very interested in Kenyon and giving him full consideration," said Grunwald, who can only offer the 35-year-old forward a contract in the veteran's minimum range. "We're just having discussions with Kenyon and his agent, and they're going pretty well at this time."
Teams can never have enough veteran leadership and toughness, both of which Martin provides. He played very well in his 18 games in New York last season. He averaged 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 minutes per game last season.
Also, since New York's latest big man, Andrea Bargnani, is more of a finesse player, Martin would play a crucial role alongside Tyson Chandler as a big who is willing to do the dirty work.
While Martin will likely sign with New York, Zwerling tweeted that the Spurs are very interested in acquiring the power forward.
Hearing the Spurs are in hot pursuit of Kenyon Martin. #Knicks still in play, among others.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 6, 2013
Martin could also choose to go to Los Angeles or Brooklyn to play for his former teammate, Jason Kidd, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
Teams interested in Kenyon Martin: Lakers, Clippers, Spurs, Knicks, Nets, source says— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 3, 2013
The Spurs, Clippers and Nets are Martin's best chances of winning a championship, so he would be best off not re-signing with the Knicks. However, given how well talks are going between him and New York, he will probably return to the Big Apple next year.
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Similarly to Kenyon Martin, Lamar Odom is likely to sign with his most recent team, the Los Angeles Clippers. According to ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi, the Clippers are interested in signing Odom.
Who will the Clippers sign next? Sources say they are still interested in Lamar Odom.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 21, 2013
Odom, who was drafted by the Clippers, averaged four points and six rebounds per game in L.A. last season.
The Lakers have also expressed interest in signing the 14-year veteran, according to CBS Sports. While Odom won two titles with the Lakers, the Clippers are currently the best NBA team in Los Angeles. Being a role player on the Clippers with Doc Rivers as the head coach is a better option for him than returning to the dysfunctional Lakers.
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Despite averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 assists last season in Milwaukee, point guard Brandon Jennings remains unsigned this offseason.
According to Sports Illustrated's Rob Mahoney, Jennings' offense is worrisome.
According to Synergy Sports Technology, Jennings rated miserably in defending both isolation sequences and spot-up opportunities last season — a basic indicator that he’s become a liability both on and off the ball. Quickness alone just can’t save a defender who takes such an open stance (thus surrendering easy blow-bys) in coverage and gets caught ball-watching on a frequent basis.
For those reasons, the Bucks wanted to part ways with Jennings, which is why they made an offer to sign Atlanta's Jeff Teague.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Michael Hunt wrote that even though it would be "awkward" for Milwaukee to re-sign Jennings to a one-year deal, it could work out well. Hunt wrote that the combination of a contract year for Jennings, a new coach and the absence of Monta Ellis could improve the point guard's play next season.
ATL would seem to be place for Brandon Jennings if Hawks don't match to keep Teague. If not there, where? If ATL matches, BJ back to Bucks— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 12, 2013
Even though NBC Sports reported that Jennings does not want to return to Milwaukee next season, there isn't a team in the NBA that has showed significant interest in signing him. His best option may be to return to the Bucks for one more year.