While free agency isn’t nearly as exciting as it was a few weeks ago, there are still a number of impact players seeking contracts, including Mo Williams.
The veteran point guard spent last season with the Utah Jazz, playing—and starting—in 46 games for the organization. In 30.8 minutes per night, Williams averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 assists. He shot 43 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from downtown throughout the season.
Williams did miss a significant chunk of the season due to a thumb injury, but was still productive each time he took the floor. His ailment shouldn’t have teams worried about his future, but the guard is still without a deal to play next season. That could change in the next few days, though.
Marc Stein of ESPN reports that Williams is one guard Memphis has its eye on:
No guarantee they get either one but word is Grizzlies remain in discussions with both Mo Williams & Beno Udrih to spruce up PG department— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 4, 2013
The Grizzlies have Mike Conley as their starter, and the potential signing of Williams wouldn’t change that. But the veteran could become the primary backup to Conley should he end up with Memphis. Jerryd Bayless was the go-to guy off the bench for the Grizzlies last season, but wasn’t overly impressive.
In 80 games and 22.1 minutes per night, Bayless averaged 8.7 points and 3.3 assists. He shot 41.9 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from three-point territory. There’s no question that Williams would be an upgrade over Bayless. Memphis would be wise to bring him in for the upcoming season.
As we continue to wait to hear where Williams will wind up for 2013-14—whether it be in Memphis, elsewhere or nowhere—here are the latest updates for players in similar situations to that of the veteran point guard.
Saunders Optimistic About Re-Signing Pekovic
The Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to re-sign one of their top players from last season. Nikola Pekovic was a monster for the team a year ago, and is currently a restricted free agent. He led the team in PER, according to ESPN, and was the T-Wolves’ second-highest scorer and rebounder in 62 games.
Flip Saunders, Minnesota’s president of basketball operations, told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune that he’s “optimistic” about the chances of Pekovic returning to the Timberwolves next season. Here’s what Saunders said about what the team is currently doing and what could happen:
Right now we’re going through maybe an education process [with] Pek and his people of where we’re at with our organization and his importance to us and where we feel we’re at with what our offer is and why we’ve offered him what we’ve offered. There’s nothing that has been adversarial, it’s more of an education situation right now, and I’m optimistic that we’ll sign him. Right now we’re in a situation where he’s a restricted free agent and so he can go out and get an offer sheet from anybody and get a contract, but we have the ability to match any offer that he can get.
So we are pretty much in a good situation, and I do believe that Glen [Taylor, Wolves owner] and our organization, that we’ve presented a very fair, more than fair offer to Pek and we’ll just see where it goes and how soon it gets taken care of.
Even though Saunders may feel that the team’s offer to Pekovic was a good one, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the center agrees. Since he hasn’t signed a contract—or an offer sheet—he’s probably waiting for Minnesota to increase its offer or for another team to present him with a contract that he feels is fair.
Yes, the Timberwolves can match any offer he gets, but the team shouldn’t be playing hardball with Pekovic. They need to keep him happy, and there’s no reason not to give him what he wants. He’s arguably the team’s second-best player behind Kevin Love. Minnesota should be willing to bring him back on his terms.
Heat Looking at Telfair
Sebastian Telfair was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, and has played for seven different organizations throughout his career. In 548 games since getting selected by the Portland Trailblazers, the guard has only averaged 7.4 points per game and has only shot 39.1 percent from the floor.
The defending champions may think that Telfair can help them repeat this season, as Alex Kennedy of HOOSPWORLD reports the Miami Heat are interested in him:
The Miami Heat continue to express interest in free agent point guard Sebastian Telfair, according to sources close to the situation.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 4, 2013
This would be somewhat of an intriguing move for the Heat, as they don’t really need another point guard on the roster. Mario Chalmers is more than capable of being the lead guy for Miami, as he started 77 games for the team in the regular season a year ago while averaging 8.6 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Norris Cole played in 80 games for Miami last year—starting four—and averaged 19.9 minutes per game. Throughout his time last year, Cole scored 5.6 points and had 2.1 assists per game. He isn’t the best backup in the NBA, but he’s not a bad option to have. He’s arguably better than what Telfair could bring to the team, too.
Two point guards on the active roster is more than enough for the Heat. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade handle the point-guard duties from time-to-time as well. When they do, there really isn’t a need for a point guard who isn’t going to shoot at least 40 percent from the field on the floor at the same time.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense for Miami to sign Telfair.
All statistics in this article were obtained via ESPN unless otherwise noted.