Not every team can sign LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony. Some teams are constrained either by the salary cap or simply because they're an unattractive destination. But grabbing a player or two out of the bargain basement doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Most of this summer's marquee free agents have already found homes. And those who haven't either remain extremely pricey, are of the restricted variety or both, in the case of Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe.
The four players below remain available to the highest bidder. They won't be making the All-Star Game, but they offer more than enough value for money.
On July 1, Jermaine O'Neal would reportedly make a decision about whether or not he'd retire within the week, per Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com:
Warriors free agent C Jermaine O'Neal still undecided on playing 19th season, l'm informed. He'll reach a conclusion in "next week or so."— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 2, 2014
Fast forward to July 11, and Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers made it seem like the veteran big man had yet to reach a conclusion, via Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com:
GM Bob Myers on Jermaine O'Neal: We keep in touch. He's still deliberating what he wants to do, and I told him we'd stay in touch.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) July 12, 2014
If this was a few years ago, you could understand why O'Neal remained without a team by this stage in the offseason. He was dreadful for the Boston Celtics, averaging 9.1 points per 36 minutes in his two years with the team.
Since joining the Phoenix Suns two years ago, though, O'Neal has resurrected his career a bit. He was a solid bench player for the Suns in 2012-13 and gave the Golden State Warriors productive minutes in a limited capacity this past year.
Rim protectors are hard to come by in this free-agent market. O'Neal remains very good under the basket and would fit in well with a playoff contender hoping to get tougher in the post.
Although it was a bit of a surprise, you could understand why the Orlando Magic waived Jameer Nelson. He's a veteran point guard on a team firmly in the rebuild. With the Magic getting Elfrid Payton, Nelson was on the way out sooner or later.
The 32-year-old will likely receive a deal in line with his present ability, which means that he should offer a lot of value for a potential suitor. His skills are diminishing, but he remains a 34 percent shooter from three-point range who can also operate as the proverbial floor general.
This year's free-agent market was flush with talented point guards, perhaps in part explaining why Nelson remains available. Still, whichever teams are looking for a veteran backup PG should look his way.
On July 1, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the price tag for Mike Scott might not be that high:
Rival teams believe that Atlanta's Mike Scott is a restricted agent who can be had with a strong offer sheet. Hawks protecting cap space.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
The problem with the 26-year-old is that he of course is a restricted free agent, meaning that if a potential bidder comes in a low offer, the Atlanta Hawks will match. In order to prevent that scenario, a team might have to pay over the odds.
But if Atlanta isn't all that interested in bringing Scott back, then the offer sheet might not have to be some crazy figure that everybody can see is overpaying. Plus, all a team really needs to do is go the poison-pill route and throw more money on the back end.
Scott is a solid perimeter defender who improved his shooting percentage, despite taking twice as many shots a game.
Emeka Okafor's stock couldn't be much lower than it is at the moment. He missed the whole of the 2013-14 season with injury. Herniating a disk in your neck doesn't sound like the thing you can easily recover from, even after a year off.
"It’s just one of the consequences of being injured. You just kind of in the back burner, just chilling," said Okafor in October 2013, per Michael Lee of The Washington Post. "As a competitor, you want to be out there with your teammates, just going through it. When you can’t, it’s not fun. But, I’m going to be working to get back ASAP."
All of this makes Okafor a great buy-low candidate. Hey, if Greg Oden can find a home with the Miami Heat, why should Okafor be considered unsignable?
The 31-year-old is sometimes considered a black hole offensively, but he's a career .512 shooter and averaged 12.3 and 13.4 points per 36 minutes in his last two seasons.
Throw that in with his above-average rim protection and you've got a player certainly worth the risk for a team with little money to spend.
Note: All stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.