NBA Free Agents 2011: 5 Players Likely to Be Had at a Bargain Price
NBA free agency may be delayed and though this year's free agency class is nowhere near as good as last year's (or the upcoming year's), there are still quite a few veterans that can push a team over the edge.
With no Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, it'll be difficult to gauge how much each player might be worth and if Mid-Level Exceptions would even exist.
However, using current CBA rules, we can sort out which players can contribute greatly at a bargain price.
Here are five of them.
J.R. Smith will finally be a free agent for the first time in his career after playing five seasons in Denver Nuggets.
That's shocking, considering the turmoil Smith has been involved in, ranging from arguments with coaches to on-court brawls to off-the-court legal problems.
Regardless of his character issues, Smith still proved to be huge off the bench for the Nuggets (he improved his rebounding numbers despite averaging less points per game and seeing a stark drop in minutes) and continues to show flashes of brilliance despite under-achieving at times.
Because he's yet to have a real breakout season, a lot of teams see the potential he can provide, even with his character problems. Furthermore, his character issues could bring the cost to acquire Smith way, way down.
Last season, Jason Richardson was traded to the Orlando Magic in a last-ditch effort by Magic GM Otis Smith to deliver a title to Orlando.
The gamble failed terribly, and Jason Richardson—arguably the best player acquired in the trade, due to his increased efficiency—is a free agent.
Richardson played considerably better after the trade, considering he became a fourth option in Orlando after starting as the second option in Phoenix.
J-Rich is a formidable 2-guard and is old enough to see his asking price decrease, even though his ability to shoot and handle the ball are still intact.
He's also interested in winning at this stage of his career, meaning a title team with little wiggle room can perhaps coerce him to sign a contract for the veteran's minimum.
Shannon Brown has hit his ceiling, but in his time with the Lakers, he's improved his ball-handling skills exponentially, and he's become a solid team defender.
Brown is also a decent shooter and—as he's become known for in LA—can fly.
He can most likely be had for a cheap price though, despite his increased development in LA. He doesn't have much upside at this stage in his career, and his basketball IQ isn't what you'd want from an average rotation player.
Shane Battier proved to be the pivotal veteran presence the Grizzlies needed to move past the San Antonio Spurs and push an elite Oklahoma City Thunder team to seven tough, grueling games in the second round of the playoffs.
Battier is 32 years old, and it's unlikely he's going to win a title with Memphis next season (or the season after that, for that matter).
The mentality for your average 32-year-old rotation player? Win and win now.
Battier could sign for a relatively cheap price or even for the veteran's minimum, if the Miami Heat can coerce him to play for that little.
What Battier provides is solid, lock-down defensive play, with the ability to guard any position from the point to the 4.
He's also a savvy veteran who can keep a team level-headed in tough situations, as shown in his playoff appearances with the Rockets and Grizzlies.
The Milwaukee Bucks had their hearts broken over the past two years, with major injuries keeping Michael Redd out of the game.
And though the Bucks haven't been doing terrible without Redd, Redd is still a solid perimeter scorer who can spread the floor for a team that desperately needs shooting.
Redd will be cheap too. He suffered ACL and MCL injures two consecutive years, which could leave question marks concerning his health and proneness to injury. Furthermore, Redd is already 31 years old, an unfortunate age coming off of injuries.
Regardless, if healthy, Redd can provide some much-needed offense to teams in need of some scoring.