Mid-August usually represents a lull in the NBA offseason, a period of peace and quiet between an early-summer flurry of free-agent signings and the start of training camp and preseason in the fall.
However, due to the newest collective bargaining agreement and the brutal penalties on luxury-tax paying clubs, there are still plenty of roster spots available across the league and tons of unsigned talent.
General managers are trying to maximize value and make smart decisions with their limited cap space, which has led to a drawn out free-agency period that seems like it will extend all the way through camp for a number of marquee teams.
Let’s take a look at which players could be on the radar for some of the league’s most intriguing organizations in Wednesday’s rumor roundup.
Al Harrington Close to Signing with Wizards
As soon as the Orlando Magic released veteran forward Al Harrington last week, he became one of the best available talents on the open market.
The 33-year-old officially cleared waivers in early August and has been talking to a number of teams about a new contract ever since becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Michael Lee of The Washington Post has the latest on the 15-year veteran, who indicated he wanted to join the Washington Wizards last weekend.
According to the reporter, the Wizards brought in Harrington for a physical on Tuesday and plan to sign him to a minimum contract worth $1.4 million in the near future.
On Monday night, Harrington expressed his enthusiasm about joining the up-and-coming franchise to Lee:
I’m excited and I feel like this team is definitely going to make the playoffs. And I don’t care. I’ll go on record saying that. I feel like if this team is healthy, it will be one of the top eight teams in the East, for sure.
Harrington has participated on six playoff teams during his long tenure in the Association and holds averages of 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in the postseason, but has never advanced deeper than the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2004 with the Indiana Pacers.
If the New Jersey native is as healthy as advertised, he will certainly be a major asset for the Wizards next season. At 6’9”, 245 pounds, Harrington has the size to bolster the thin frontcourt in Washington, while also possessing range out to the three-point line.
His skill and experience will be invaluable on a roster that is largely based around a young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, plus rookie swingman Otto Porter.
Gary Forbes Working Out with Knicks, Lakers
Gary Forbes, a free-agent forward that last played in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, is drawing interest from a handful of suitors this summer.
According to HoopsHype’s Jorge Sierra, both the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have extended a workout invitation to the 6’7” swingman.
Free agent forward Gary Forbes is working out for the Los Angeles Lakers today, one source told HoopsHype. http://t.co/jD1a1drxJJ— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 13, 2013
Forbes is expected to work out for the New York Knicks next week.— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 13, 2013
The two-year veteran broke into the league during the 2010-11 campaign with the Denver Nuggets and played the next season as a reserve with the Toronto Raptors.
During that span, Forbes averaged 5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 13.5 minutes per contest.
Regardless of where he winds up playing in 2013-14—whether it’s with the Knicks, Lakers, elsewhere in the NBA or overseas—Forbes will provide his team with plenty of versatility.
He has the height to guard a number of positions and is capable of scoring the ball from anywhere on the floor—including deep three-point range.
Although he’s not the most consistent player, Forbes would be a solid insurance option and potential contributor off the pine on a cheap (read: minimum) contract.
Don’t be surprised if he ends up wowing in workouts and netting a new deal in the coming days.
Lou Amundson Set to Make Decision Soon
Lou Amundson has played for eight different teams during his seven-year NBA career and he’s reportedly on the cusp of signing with another this week.
According to Shams Charania of RealGM, Amundson recently met with two suitors and will meet with another pair of suitors before making a decision on where he will take his talents for the 2013-14 campaign.
Is Amundson going to make any tangible impact next season?
The high-energy big man holds career averages of 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per contest. At 6’9”, 225 pounds, he’s a tad small to guard traditional centers, but more than makes up for his lack of inches and weight with pure hustle and determination.
Amundson isn’t likely to see many minutes unless there is an injury, but he’s a great glue guy to have in the locker room and excellent insurance in the case that a starting big goes down for any significant stretch.
It wouldn’t be surprising if a contender wins the courting battle for the 30-year-old, but anything could happen at this juncture.