It’s been an ‘Artest-y’ few weeks. The big names have all gotten paid and there’s sentiment around the league that the ‘money well’ has started to dry up.
Here’s a list of the top guys still available and who they’re talking to…..
Kirk Hinrich – I still think Captain Kirk is headed back to Chicago. It just feels right. He’ll back-up Rose and fill-in during his next injury. UPDATE: As expected, Chicago has signed Kirk Hinrich for next season.
Raymond Felton – Definitely not returning to Portland. Other than the Knicks his name hasn’t been heard much….boy does he miss Mike D’Antoni. UPDATE: Knicks acquire Ray from Blazers in a sign & trade deal (4 yrs, $16M).
Aaron Brooks – A forgotten man after his year in China. No longer restricted as Phoenix has moved on. He’ll probably end up returning to Houston, and it’ll be awkward. UPDATE: The Sacramento Kings have signed Aaron Brooks.
Randy Foye – A return to the Clippers is unlikely despite playing well at the ’2′. He could be back, but only if he gets no luv on the market. I can see him back on the East Coast: Charlotte? Washington? UPDATE: The Utah Jazz have signed Randy to a 1-year deal (7/23/12)
John Lucas III – Despite his explosion while D-Rose was out, he hasn’t been offered much $ abroad. Teams view his play as a fluke and a product of ‘Tibs’ system. Lucas is most likely returning to Chicago.
O.J. Mayo – Boston wanted him bad but he was just too expensive. His likeliest destination is the Phoenix Suns, once the Hornets match Eric Gordon’s offer sheet. Indiana has always liked him, but not enough to actually make a real move. UPDATE: Mayo has agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks (2nd yr is a player option).
Courtney Lee – A highly-coveted swingman, Minnesota and Chicago are the most interested teams. Of the guys left, he’ll likely to still get paid. Bulls would prefer a sign & trade, Rockets would not. UPDATE: The Celtics have acquired Courtney Lee from Houston for 3 players (Johnson, Moore, Pavlovic).
Sonny Weems – He’s talked to the Memphis Grizzlies recently after spending last season in Lithuania. Sonny may have the most upside on this entire list.
Marco Belinelli – I haven’t heard his name much this offseason, till today…..the Clippers are talking about doing a sign n’ trade. UPDATE: The Bulls sign Marco Belinelli using their bi-annueal excpetion. (7/23/12)
Jodie Meeks – This shooter started most the season for 76ers. He’d be a great guard coming off some team’s bench. He’d look really good in Boston as a poor man’s Ray Allen.
SF (aka ‘swingmen’)
Terrence Williams – This stud shined with the Sacramento Kings to end the year. He is the most talented guy on this list and should be snatched up already. That being said, nobody is calling. I don’t get it. He’s likely staying in SAC for a modest pay increase.
Brandon Rush – He gave the Warriors a big boost when he came over from Indiana last year. Lakers and Clippers showed early interest, but now the $ is drying up.
Ronnie Brewer – Chicago did not pick up his option for next season. He could still return, but for a lot less $. UPDATE: Knicks sign Ronnie to 1-yr deal. (7/24/12)
C.J. Miles – It’s hard to tell how much Utah likes C.J. With Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks rising, Miles may be packing. How about heading back home to Dallas?
Grant Hill – He says he’ll decide soon which contender to join. Joining Nash in L.A. is the likeliest spot but I think the Lakers are old enough on the perimeter, don’t you? UPDATE: Grant Hill has chosen the Clippers over Lakers, Nets, and Knicks.
Carl Landry – The Golden State Warriors are very interested in grabbing this productive PF. I’d rather see him on a playoff team like Dallas or Memphis.
Kris Humphries – He was tossed around in that Dwight-to-Nets mega deal for the past 2 weeks. Props to him for sticking to his guns (a long-term, guaranteed deal). He’ll get it eventually. UPDATE: Nets have ponied up $24M over two years to make Kris happy.
Jordan Hill – The Lakers would like to have him back but he’ll be too expensive for them. Josh McRoberts will gladly take his minutes and catch those perfect passes from Nash inside. Somewhere, Jordan will easily average 10 & 10 as a starter. UPDATE: Lakers re0sign Hill to $8M deal over two seasons. (7/20/12)
Antawn Jamison – He’s still talking to the Charlotte Bobcats, who are trying to get him in a sign and trade w/ Cavs. The Lakers and Nets, though, are still hoping to snatch him up as a role player. UPDATE: Lakers sign Antawn Jamison to one year deal or veteran’s minimum.
Kenyon Martin – This veteran will likely join a contender just like he did last year in L.A. The Warriors seem to be interested too and may offer most $. I look for him to return to the Nets… Brooklyn baby.
JaVale McGee (restricted) – Talks are going well and the Nuggets plan to have him starting at center this Fall, even if it costs them $10M/yr. UPDATE: Nuggets and McGee agree to 4-yr $44M deal.
Brendan Haywood – Recently amnestied, this once overpaid ‘bigman’ will be somebody’s impact-maker off the bench. He can still defend the paint and punish guys for driving inside. Pick a contending team, he’ll look good there. UPDATE: The Charlotte Bobcats claim Haywood after putting in the highest bid. He never cleared waivers.
Luis Scola – I’m listing him at C because there aren’t that many quality ‘bigs’ out there. Also recently amnestied, he is highly coveted. Dallas made the first call, but I see him either going to the Spurs or Lakers. The Nets, too, will be involved. UPDATE: The Phoeniz Suns have claimed Luis after putting in the highest bid. He never cleared waivers.
Kwame Brown – He appears to be fully recovered from that shoulder injury, the same one that Al Horford had. Forget the name and the # pick he was, this guy is a very solid center who plays defense and rebounds at a high level. Back to L.A.? UPDATE: The 76ers have signed Kwame to a 2-yr, $6M deal (2nd yr is player option).
Ryan Hollins – I can’t stand this guy’s game and, quite frankly, wouldn’t sign him with my milk money. He’s what I call a fake thug who tries to bully small guards downcourt…a poor-man’s KG. Byron Scott couldn’t stand him in Cleveland and neither can I. That being said, the Clippers seem very intent on adding him to back-up DeAndre Jordan…..and that’s their problem. UPDATE: Clippers have sign Hollins.