The NBA’s Top 10 Remaining Free Agents to Watch


Jul 30, 2009

With a month of the NBA's offseason already in the books, the blockbuster free agents have already made up their minds. The Ron Artests, Hedo Turkoglus and Rasheed Wallaces of the world have already found new homes, but that doesn't mean the drama's over yet.

This is where things get interesting. Pretty much every GM in the league now has at least a vague understanding of where his team is headed over the course of the next season, but there are still finishing touches to be applied. A few teams could still use one or two more pieces to polish off their rotations for next season, and the stragglers of the free agent market could still make an impact.

July was fun, but August will still bring intrigue. Here are 10 more free agents to watch between now and November:

1. Lamar Odom. The star forward was reportedly seriously considering a move to the East to join Dwyane Wade and the Heat, but he decided not to jump ship from the championship team currently in place in L.A. He signed a four-year, $33 million deal with the Lakers on Thursday. More than likely, the Miami move was a bluff — Odom wanted more money from the defending champion Lakers, and threatening a move east seemed like the way to get it.

2. David Lee. It's not too common that you find 16 points and 12 rebounds per game just sitting there on the open market in August. But Lee is in a strange position. On one hand, it's hard for him to work out a new deal in New York, since the Knicks are trying to save cap space for the 2010 free agent market (LeBron James, anyone?). On the other, it'll also be hard for Lee to find work elsewhere — his eye-popping numbers are largely a product of Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system, and putting Lee on any other team wouldn't yield the same results. The answer? Lee probably returns to New York (he's a restricted free agent), but he might not see a huge payday in this economic climate.

3. Ramon Sessions. Another guy with dazzling counting stats. Sessions, a restricted free agent, had 24 assists in a game against Chicago last season; he puts up big numbers and could be a franchise point guard in the future. Right now, he's only 23 and already looked very good with the Bucks last season. The Clippers have shown interest in the young guard, but he sure would look great in a Knicks uniform alongside Lee.

4. Hakim Warrick.
The Memphis power forward was a restricted free agent as of last week, with the Grizzlies extending a $3 million qualifying offer, but Grizz GM Chris Wallace made headlines that week by rescinding that offer. Warrick is now out on the open market and up for grabs, so if anyone's looking for a double-digit scorer to come off their bench, here's a guy that could fit right in.

5. Allen Iverson
. Yes, there are a lot of cons. Low basketball IQ, character issues galore, questionable leadership ability, high salary demands. But Iverson is 34 and can still score in bunches — he's going to catch on somewhere. The Clippers and Grizzlies have shown interest — neither of those teams will win a championship with him, but they'll have a future Hall of Famer with plenty of commercial appeal.

6. Linas Kleiza.
Kleiza is a strong, physical forward with the ability to really bolster a team's bench. He proved himself last year for a Denver team that went deep in the West playoffs — and while the Nuggets would love to have him back, it might not work financially. Like the Celtics with Glen Davis, the Nuggets are at the luxury tax line and need to avoid further spending. The Cavaliers have shown interest in stealing Kleiza away — interestingly enough, so has Olympiakos, the Greek team that poached Josh Childress from the Hawks last year.

7. Joe Smith. What's not to like? The former No. 1 overall draft pick is still a polished all-around player — he scores, he defends, he's a good team player who can fit well into any system. He'd be a great role player on a championship-contending team — the Lakers could use him as a backup plan in the Odom sweepstakes, or the Magic could add to their bench depth with another backup forward to go along with Brandon Bass. Or, if all else fails, why not return to Cleveland? Smith was a good fit with the Cavaliers.

8. Raymond Felton.
So far, all the former UNC standout has proven is his ability to put up decent numbers on a bad team. Fourteen points, seven assists and four rebounds a game for the Bobcats is nice, but leading a team to the playoffs would be a lot nicer, and Felton doesn't appear ready to do that at 25 years old. Felton is a restricted free agent, and it would surprise no one to see him back in Charlotte for another season. He's still got some learning to do.

9. Rashad McCants. Another old Tar Heel, McCants is 24 and hasn't proven himself yet as much more than a shooter. The Wolves and Kings have both given him a shot (well, 2,144 of them) in his first four years in the league, and he's now an unrestricted free agent. He's unlikely to command big money, but the Kings might bring him back cheaply and hope he develops as he enters his prime.

10. Carlos Delfino. After making the move from Detroit last season, Delfino flourished as a Raptor, emerging as a three-point assassin. Delfino is now a restricted free agent, and the Raptors should definitely bring him back — imagine Delfino and Turkoglu manning the perimeter in Toronto, with Chris Bosh in the middle grabbing their rebounds. In the East, that's a playoff team for sure.

There are a lot of teams still angling to make some moves this summer — Big Baby Davis and Leon Powe aren't the only free agents looking for work. Most of the league's top contenders are all set, but you never know when the next move might come to shake up the NBA for next season.

There's plenty of drama left in August. Keep watching.

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