With most of the high-profile free agents already off the market, NBA teams can start looking for smaller pieces who can make an impact in the upcoming seasons. Luckily, there are a number of veterans available who have this ability.
This summer was a fun ride for fans, as everyone wanted to know where superstars like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony were headed. Some teams got better while others got worse in what was an eventful few weeks.
However, the free-agent period is not over. Front offices still need to find the last few bodies who can enter the rotation and make a difference during the regular season or the playoffs.
These veterans might not be the stars they once were, but they would be smart additions for any team in need.
Ray Allen, Shooting Guard
The first question teams have to answer is whether Ray Allen is even willing to keep playing. The 39-year-old guard said In June that he was considering retirement, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
I've had a great career, I'm content with what I've done. It's hard to think past this moment. In the next couple of days I'll think about it and see where my true heart lies.
One thing is for certain, to [make retirement decision] on my terms is the most important thing. Whether that is me retiring, staying here or going somewhere else it will be on my terms. I've made it to this point and I felt great that I have the choice to make it for myself.
If he does decide to hold off retirement, you can be certain that a number of teams will come running for his services. According to Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel, both the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers are top possibilities.
Cleveland remains an intriguing option, as he will be reunited with Miami Heat teammate LeBron James while he tries to win another title. Mike Miller has been recruiting him, while the Cavaliers are apparently leaving the door open for Allen to join, per Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:
James Jones adds more shooting, which was a top goal this summer. #Cavs would still make room for Ray Allen also if he chooses to join them.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) July 16, 2014
No matter where he joins, the guard will find a way to show off his best ability as a three-point shooter. Through 18 years in the league, the 10-time All-Star has a 40 percent mark from beyond the arc, setting an NBA record with 2,973 three-pointers made.
Although he had a smaller role last season with the Heat, he still finished with 9.6 points in 26.5 minutes per game. Despite getting up there in age, Allen has the skill to help out whichever team is lucky enough to sign him.
Shawn Marion, Small Forward
Despite being 36 years old, Shawn Marion still knows how to play a big role for a good team. John Schuhmann of NBA.com points out how rare his contributions were compared to others on the market:
There's only one remaining free agent who played at least 2,000 minutes for a playoff team last season: Shawn Marion.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) July 18, 2014
Marion averaged 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 76 starts from last season, making it the 15th year in a row that he averaged double figures in points.
Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram breaks down a few options for Marion:
The least likely of these scenarios is probably the Los Angeles Lakers. The forward is used to being in the playoffs, winning the NBA title in 2010-11. His biggest goal at this point should be to find a situation that can help him win another one, and the Lakers cannot do that.
Additionally, Marion has been a starter for most of his career and should try to find a destination that can at least offer him a chance at starting. The Houston Rockets or Charlotte Bobcats are legitimate possibilities to both get to the playoffs and present plenty of playing time for the veteran.
Jermaine O'Neal, Center
Last season with the Golden State Warriors proved that Jermaine O'Neal can still be productive in the NBA.
The 35-year-old player averaged 7.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game during the regular season before starting three out of seven playoff games. His experience and leadership played a big role for the young team regardless of how many minutes he played.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com breaks down why O'Neal should be a target for the Cavaliers:
There were times Golden State went to O'Neal in the post on offense and he delivered. He also showed enough presence defensively - blocking shots, rebounding and banging inside while Andrew Bogut was dealing with injury. O'Neal's a backup center that brings plenty of experience and an edge with him when he takes the court. He would likely be willing to take the veteran's minimum.
Like Allen, O'Neal will also mull retirement this summer after 18 years in the NBA. Of course, this would have made more sense after two miserable seasons with the Boston Celtics when he played just 50 games.
However, the center has bounced back with solid years for the Phoenix Suns and recently the Warriors. The Cavaliers or any other team looking for frontcourt depth should do their best to sign the veteran.
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