NBA Rumors: Latest Updates on Top Remaining Free Agents
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Nearly two months into the NBA’s free-agency period, all of the top- and second-tier players are off the market. General managers have used up most—if not all—of the salary cap and have turned their attention to filling out the bench with modestly priced talent.
Yet, there are still free agents available who are capable of contributing on a playoff team. They tend to fall into one of three categories: career journeymen, former starters who are past their prime and younger players with potential who have struggled to find their niche in the league.
Some of the remaining free agents would jump at any offer. Others have the luxury of choosing between a few teams based on the order of their priorities, which often include the amount and length of the contract, location, quality of the team and the opportunity for playing time.
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According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Antawn Jamison believed he was going to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers—before the team informed him that he was their backup plan in the event that they could not re-sign Lamar Odom. The Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies have also reportedly expressed interest in the 15-year veteran, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
Jamison turned 37 in June, had offseason wrist surgery and is coming off his least productive season. He averaged career lows in minutes (21.5), points (9.4) rebounds (4.8) and player efficiency rating (15.3).
Jamison has lost a step and is a poor defender at this point in his career, though he can still provide a contending team with some firepower off the bench as a stretch 4. The former University of North Carolina Tar Heel averaged 17.2 points per game just two seasons ago for the Cleveland Cavaliers and shot 36 percent from downtown for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-13.
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According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers wants to re-sign Lamar Odom after receiving rave reviews about what a great teammate he is. On Aug. 15, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Clippers are willing to offer Lamar Odom a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.
Odom is shopping around for a better offer, per Turner, but has yet to receive one. His former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, also expressed interest in him earlier in the summer. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles reported that Odom sat down with Mitch Kupchak in an attempt to reconcile with the team that traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Odom turns 34 in November, and his skills have rapidly declined over the past two seasons. He shot just 40 percent from the field last season. Teams outside of L.A. will be reluctant to take a chance on him after his lack of commitment to the Dallas Mavericks two seasons ago.
Odom's versatility, high basketball IQ and positive presence in the locker room should allow him to eke out a couple more seasons in the league, likely with the Clippers or Lakers.
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The Chicago Bulls released Richard "Rip" Hamilton in early July, saving $4 million of the $5 million they would have had to pay him in 2013-14. Hamilton never appeared to be a good fit for the Bulls' system, and injuries limited him to just 78 of a possible 148 regular-season games during his two seasons in Chicago.
At 35, Rip is way past his prime. He averaged his fewest points per game last season (9.8) since his time as a rookie (9.0 in 1999-00). Yet, the wily veteran can still put pressure on a defense with his constant motion and reliable mid-range jumper.
Hamilton tweeted on July 20 that he had "several choices” of teams to play for though there has been no chatter about specific franchises. The 2004 NBA champion would likely prefer to finish his career on a contender.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are an intriguing option. Rip could help fill the void left by the departure of Kevin Martin and serve as an insurance policy in the event that second-year guard Jeremy Lamb struggles in an expanded role.
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Sebastian Telfair has played for seven teams during his nine-year career after forgoing college to enter the 2004 draft. Last season, the point guard averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 assists for the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Telfair could have signed a deal with a non-playoff team early in free agency, though he would prefer to play for a contender after failing to experience the postseason during his nine years in the league.
The Brooklyn native would love to play for his hometown New York Knicks, though New York no longer needs a third point guard after signing Beno Udrih. Kennedy tweeted in July that the Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat were interested in Telfair. As recently as August 4, Kennedy tweeted the point guard was still on the Heat's radar.
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Scouts and general managers have been intrigued by James Johnson's athleticism since the Chicago Bulls selected him with the 16th pick in the 2009 draft, but the forward has been unable to perform on a consistent basis at the professional level. In fact, he seemed to regress last season with the Sacramento Kings.
Johnson is limited offensively, though he has the ability to be an excellent defender. At 6'9'', 250 pounds, he can bang with bigger forwards on the block or use his long wingspan to harass a small forward on the perimeter.
Conditioning has been an issue for the young forward during his first four seasons. According to RealGM, Johnson is scheduled to work out for the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks and prove that he has the discipline necessary to succeed in the league.
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In case Stephen Jackson's 37 percent shooting over the past two seasons was not enough to scare off teams, Captain Jack was released by the San Antonio Spurs in April after butting heads with Gregg Popovich over playing time.
Still, the man who Tim Duncan once referred to as "the ultimate teammate" has garnered a great deal of respect around the league with his fiery play. And he may have one more serviceable season left in him.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld tweeted on August 12 that Jackson is working out and interested in playing for a contender. Kennedy reported that the Houston Rockets were a possible landing spot—though that scenario is less likely after Houston signed Ronnie Brewer.