Free Agents still on the Market
As September approaches and with training camps just over a month away, there are still players wondering whom they’ll be suiting up for next season. Here are some of the most notable and a prediction on where they may end up.
Louis Amundsen (UFA): Not a stat-sheet stuffer but a big body and great energy guy who does the little things to help his team. He’s what the late Cotton Fitzsimmons referred to as a “dirt worker”. He has lasted this deep into free agency in part to his price tag ($3 million per year), leading teams to consider lower-cost alternatives. Teams looking for size and energy (Indiana, Golden State, and Denver) are likely destinations.
Rafer Alston (UFA): The former playground legend is having trouble finding work after his unceremonious departure from Miami last season. He’s earned a reputation as a bad locker-room guy, and that’s bad news when competition at your position is as stiff as it has been in years. A team like the Clippers or New York could take a flier on him, but the 2010 season could just as easily begin with Skip to My Lou sitting on the couch.
Josh Boone (RFA): He’s a 6-10 underachiever who has failed to live up to the hype he generated after the 2007-08 season (8.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in 25.3 minutes). But he has size and is young, which means he should catch on somewhere. Indiana, Milwaukee, Phoenix or a return to New Jersey are possible.
Kyrylo Fesenko (RFA): Not very well known outside of Utah, but he proved serviceable filling in at center for the Jazz in the playoffs. He’s young (23) and raw (career averages of 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game) but his size (7-1, 300lbs.) should keep him in the league. A return to Utah on a one-year qualifying offer is likely.
Jarvis Hayes (UFA): He was limited by injury last season for New Jersey but still showed he can come in and knock down some shots in a limited role. Atlanta and Denver make the most sense for him, but he must first wash off the stink from last season.
Larry Hughes (UFA): He’s still serviceable at the age of 31 and can provide minutes as a solid backup point guard or off guard for a number of teams still looking to fill those positions. The problem is he shot just 35.5 percent from the field last season and his defense is not what it used to be. Washington, New Orleans, Utah, and Sacramento could be possible destinations.
Allen Iverson (UFA): It’s never a good sign when Tracy McGrady gets a deal before you. T-Mac received little attention from teams once the free agency period opened and didn’t exactly wow teams during workouts, leading to a veteran’s minimum deal. What does this all mean for The Answer? He’s going to have a lot of free time to pose for his Hall of Fame plaque in the coming months.
Anthony Johnson (UFA): His role was limited behind Jameer Nelson and Jason Williams on Orlando’s depth chart, but he is a smart veteran point guard who can provide valuable insurance in case of injury. New Orleans, Chicago, and Detroit are a few teams that could use his services.
Flip Murray (UFA): A pure scorer who has struggled to stick in one place during his career. He averaged 10 points last season for Chicago and Charlotte, but has not latched on anywhere thus far. Chicago likely won’t bring him back after adding Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, and Ronnie Brewer, but a team weak offensively off the bench (Toronto, San Antonio) might.
Joe Smith (UFA): One of those veteran guys who may wait until the season begins to latch on to a contender in need of a big man for the stretch run. Miami, LA Lakers, and Portland look to be strong contenders for his services.
Jerry Stackhouse (UFA): Another player who may wait. (It worked out well for him last season in Milwaukee). He has hinted about his desire to play for Miami, but his position (small forward) is not a weakness of theirs. He’ll most likely have to settle for a second-tier contender (Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta) if he gets a job at all.
Antoine Walker (UFA): Walker is attempting a comeback after a two-year hiatus from the NBA that included a stopover in Puerto Rico. However, the news that he was waived by his Puerto Rican team after only eight games doesn’t bode well for his chances. He clearly is trying to get back in the league so he can pay off the massive debt that he has accrued, and rumor has it a couple teams are interested in bringing him to training camp on a non-guaranteed deal. Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine Walker making a successful comeback at his age (34). This story seems destined for an unhappy ending.
Earl Watson (UFA): A solid backup point guard who spent most of last season as Indiana’s starting point after T.J. Ford’s demotion. Does nothing flashy but can still be effective. New Orleans could be a likely destination.
(UFA) — Unrestricted Free Agent
(RFA) — Restricted Free Agent
By: Eric Lorenz
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