The beginning of the NBA offseason is a hopeful time, and the news around the league is dominated by youth. Specifically, the rookies and young players that are tasked with becoming breakout stars in the league. Then, there is the free-agent period, where the league's biggest stars, both young and old, find their new squads.
Eventually, the rumor cycle returns to teams piecing together their final squads with the veterans still up for grabs on the open market. As is often the case, the veterans still looking for new teams are older players who are no longer looking to transform teams, but complement existing hierarchies.
Here is the latest on a few veteran NBAers who could soon find new homes in the best basketball league on the planet.
Cavs Hope to Sign Ray Allen
The Cleveland Cavaliers might have made a big splash on Sunday, as they are reportedly set to sign veteran forward Shawn Marion, per ESPN's Marc Stein:
This isn't the end of the Cavaliers' quest to construct a championship-caliber roster around LeBron James. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Cavs are still hoping they can complete the veteran coup and sign Ray Allen:
The addition of Marion is an important move, but Allen's capture could turn the Cavaliers into one of the deepest teams in the league, assuming the potential blockbuster trade for Kevin Love is indeed completed.
There may be legitimate interest on Allen's part, as Dom Amore of The Hartford Courant reported that the 10-time All-Star has asked a prominent basketball figure about Cavaliers head coach David Blatt:
It would also reunite Allen with James; the pair won the 2013 NBA championship together as members of the Miami Heat. Allen's veteran leadership could push Dion Waiters to reach new heights as a player.
Both project as 2-guards in the Cavaliers lineup, but Allen is still a much better outside-shooting threat than Waiters, although the latter player is much younger and has more to offer overall.
|Ray Allen vs. Dion Waiters, Key Stats|
If Waiters can continue to make similar strides in shooting under Allen's watchful eye, the Cavaliers will become that much more dangerous next season.
Leandro Barbosa Looks To Impress NBA Teams
According to RealGM.com's Shams Charania, 31-year-old combo guard Leandro Barbosa has been in discussions with a few NBA teams regarding a potential free-agent deal.
Barbosa spent the majority of the 2013-14 season playing for Esporte Clube Pinheiros in his native Brazil, but eventually returned to play for the Phoenix Suns in early 2014. The speedy swingman played well upon his return to the States, averaging 7.5 points and 1.6 assists in 18.4 minutes per contest last season.
"I don’t know what owners think about the World Cup, but hopefully I do a great job over there and a team sees,” Barbosa said, via Charania. “I feel healthy and my body is feeling healthy. If I have free agency in my mind, I won’t be able to be myself on the court. Hopefully, I sign a contract and I’ll be happy.”
Barbosa may have to prove to teams that he can still shoot from outside during the FIBA World Cup. He sports a career 39.0 shooting percentage from beyond the arc, but shot just 28.0 percent from downtown in his 20 games with the Suns last season, per Basketball-Reference.com.
If the Cavaliers can't sign Allen and Barbosa proves he can still shoot, the Brazilian might actually be a solid backup option for the team. He's still relatively young for a veteran free-agent looking for another payday, although if his athleticism has drastically declined it could definitely hurt his overall effectiveness as a player.
E'Twaun Moore Reportedly Set to Sign With Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are banking on a rejuvenated Pau Gasol and an injury-free Derrick Rose to compete with the Cavaliers for bragging rights in a watered-down Eastern Conference. Like the Cavs, they are still looking to flesh out the final roster, and it appears E'Twaun Moore could be the part of the equation.
According to Mary Stevens of NBC's Sports Talk Florida, Moore will sign with the Bulls "in the next few days."
Moore isn't a blockbuster signing, but he is a smart one, so long as it is a cheaper, short-term contract. The Bulls can't bank on Rose staying healthy for the entirety of the 2014-15 season, which makes Moore a solid signing in terms of adding depth and balance to the squad.
Basketball writer and Vice Sports contributor Kevin Ferrigan likes Moore's game:
Moore is a three-year NBA veteran. He last played for the Orlando Magic, where he averaged 7.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game over two seasons, per Basketball-Reference.com.
The 6'4" Purdue product is capable of playing at both the point and 2-guard. The Bulls backcourt lacks size behind Rose, and Moore has a solid mid-range shooting touch. He shot 43.8 percent on two-pointers beyond 16 feet in 2013-14, per Basketball-Reference.com.