The NBA is in full-on hibernation mode as the calendar flips to August, but the rumor mill is still churning out plenty of buzz.
Prior to Friday night, former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden had been the biggest name on the free-agent market, but after his decision to join the two-time defending world champion Miami Heat (per ESPN's Jeff Goodman), the focus will now shift elsewhere:
Greg Oden will sign with Miami Heat, source told ESPN. Two-year with player option for second year.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 3, 2013
Below we'll break down some of the latest free agent chatter heading into the weekend.
Memphis Grizzlies Eyeing Veteran Beno Udrih?
Veteran free agent point guard Beno Udrih is on the Memphis Grizzlies radar this August, according to Grizzlies beat writer Ronald Tillery via Twitter:
Hearing Griz expressing interest in Beno Udrih.Still considering Mo Williams. MEM wants 1yr deal but can exceed $1.4 vet min NYC is dangling— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBlog) August 2, 2013
Udrih started the 2012-13 season with the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the Orlando Magic. The 31-year-old averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 assists in 27 games (nine starts) with the Magic late in the season.
The former first-round draft pick has proven to be a reliable backup point guard over the past decade, and would be a solid option behind starter Mike Conley in Memphis.
Ivan Johnson Drawing Interest from Half a Dozen Teams?
Free-agent enforcer Ivan Johnson appears to be somewhat of a hot commodity this summer. According to CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes, the former Atlanta Hawk has been talking with six different NBA teams.
Which free agent PF is more valuable?
According to the source via Haynes, there is no front-runner to land Johnson and none of the conversations have gotten serious with better big men still available.
Johnson appeared in 125 regular-season games for the Hawks over the past two seasons, averaging 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in nearly 16 minutes per night. He's played in 11 postseason games as well, scoring 4.5 points per game and reeling in 3.4 boards per playoff outing.
At 6'8", Johnson is a bit undersized at the power forward spot, which can make him a liability at times defensively. But if a team can land him for cheap, his energy and strength on the boards make him a worthwhile short-term investment.
Lou Amundson Looking to Capitalize on Greg Oden's Move
NBA journeyman Lou Amundson is one of several free-agent power forwards searching for a team this summer, but as ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein points out via Twitter, Amundson's future will likely be impacted by former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden's decision:
One FA big man likely to benefit from Greg Oden's expected decision today is Lou Amundson, who has drawn interest from some of same teams— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 2, 2013
Hearing that Heat, Kings and Mavs (all Oden finalists) as well as Hawks, Knicks and Pacers have registered level of interest in Amundson— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 2, 2013
Oden agreed to sign with the Miami Heat on Friday night, meaning that the defending world champions likely won't come calling for Amundson's services anytime soon.
But that still leaves the 6'9" reserve with several interested clubs, including the Indiana Pacers, who he is familiar with having played in 60 regular-season games for them in 2011-12.
An active body around the rim, Amundson isn't going to score a ton of points in the paint, but his energy and leaping ability make him an excellent addition to any NBA rotation.
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