Ryan Knaus

The Numbers Game

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Free Agent Frenzy: PGs and SGs

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The first edition of Free Agent Frenzy examines PGs and SGs entering unrestricted free agency on Tuesday. Don't read too much into the descending order of players, which moves roughly from most to least important. Where possible I've noted which teams are rumored to have interest in which players, while filling in contextual details and occasionally providing a season outlook.


Click here to read about this summer's free agent SFs and PFs.

Click here to read about this summer's free agent Cs and restricted free agents.


If I don't mention teams who are interested in a player, it's because I either don't know or won't give credence to specific rumors. This list is still changing as players and teams make last-minute decisions prior to July 1 -- I'll update it as appropriate, but it will never be 100 percent comprehensive.


One final thought...almost every single free agent, restricted or unrestricted, says that they'd like to return to the team they're leaving. Such boiler-plate comments burnish a player's image, even while raising the perceived bar for other teams hoping to acquire them, and there is no downside. Although I make note of (too many) players saying such things, I'd warn against taking them very seriously.


You can also follow me on Twitter @Knaus_RW


Unrestricted Point Guards


Kyle Lowry - Ric Bucher floated the notion that a sign-and-trade sending Lowry to the Heat was imminent, only to apologize on Twitter the next day and blame his "source" for the error. Those unprofessional shenanigans aside, Lowry is the best PG on the market and will draw interest from plenty of teams including the Raptors, who are expected to aggressively pursue him (the arrival of Lou Williams shouldn't dissuade them, as he's more of a SG anyway). Other contenders are likely to join in the pursuit, but they may not approach him until LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are off the table. UPDATE: Lowry agreed to re-sign with the Raptors on a four-year deal worth $48 million. It's a great fit for K-Low, who is coming off a career season and should be a steady second-round value as long as he stays healthy.


Darren Collison - Doc Rivers said that re-signing Collison is a top priority this summer. Collison boasts terrific shooting percentages from the field, 3-point land and the FT line, he has a rock-solid assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.23, and he's averaged 1.4 steals per 36 minutes in his career. He's also missed a skimpy average of 3.6 games per season in his five-year career, which is even more appealing given Chris Paul's occasional injury woes. L.A. will do what they can to keep him, though a lucrative offer and the promise of a starting job could be enough to lure Collison elsewhere. UPDATE:Collison agreed to a three-year, $16 million deal with the Kings. He anticipates starting at PG, which makes it likely that the Kings will seek a sign-and-trade deal involving restricted FA Isaiah Thomas.


Jameer Nelson - The Magic waived Jameer on Monday, paying him a guaranteed $2 million to unburden themselves of his $8 million salary. Nelson's future in Orlando is complicated by their acquisition of rookie PG Elfrid Payton, combined with the presence of Victor Oladipo, but Nelson has made it clear that he would love to finish his career with the Magic. Don't be surprised if he re-signs for a lower salary across multiple years, giving the Magic a well-established veteran to support their young guards both on and off the court. UPDATE: Nelson has agreed to a deal with the Mavericks.


Mo Williams - By declining his $2.8 million player option, Williams set himself up for a summer of unrestricted free agency. The 31-year-old will be looking for a three-year contract and has no intention of leaving Portland, saying that his goal is to "get something done with the Blazers." He flirted with fantasy value in standard leagues last season, but as long as Damian Lillard is healthy there's no reason to reach for him on draft day. UPDATE: The Blazers and Mavericks are both interested in Williams.


Mario Chalmers - Chalmers bottomed out in the Finals, ultimately losing his starting job, and he's unlikely to return with Miami now that they have Shabazz Napier (and Norris Cole, who is the only player under contract). UPDATE: Chalmers will stay with the Heat on a two-year, $8.3 million deal.


Ramon Sessions - The veteran PG thrived after being traded to the Bucks, averaging 15.8 points and 4.8 assists in an expanded role, and he said he'd welcome a return with Milwaukee. His phenomenal ability to get in the paint and draw fouls (6.7 FT attempts per 36 minutes) is typically offset by his lack of 3-point shooting, though he did average 0.8 triples per game as a Buck last year. UPDATE: The Bulls are among the teams to have expressed interest in Sessions.


Kirk Hinrich - Kirk said shortly after the season that he hopes to re-sign with the Bulls and "will always think of [himself] as a Bull no matter what happens." He has a good rapport with coach Tom Thibodeau, and Derrick Rose's injury history makes it critical to have at least one reliable backup PG ready to take over as a starter, so it would be somewhat surprising if he doesn't re-sign with Chicago. UPDATE: Hinrich has agreed to re-sign with the Bulls on a two-year deal worth approximately $5.6 million


D.J. Augustin - Augustin was enthusiastic about his desire to return with the Bulls, where he experienced a mini-renaissance after being acquired mid-season. It's hard to envision him duplicating his numbers from 2013-14 in Chicago or anywhere else, and his defensive limitations would be blinding if it weren't for the Bulls' stellar team defense. Don't expect more than late-round value from the 26-year-old veteran. UPDATE: The Pistons signed Augustin for $6 million over two years.


Shaun Livingston - The Kings are reportedly interested in signing Livingston as their new starting point guard, which is a testament to his solid play and ability to stay healthy for the Nets in 2013-14. He averaged only 8.3 points per game and isn't a 3-point threat, but he was 48.3 percent from the field and 82.7 percent from the FT line, with 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and a mere 1.4 turnovers in 26 minutes per game. He's in his prime at 28 years old, but his lack of scoring and 3-point shooting severely hamper his fantasy outlook. UPDATE: Livingston has agreed to a three-year, $16 million deal with the Warriors, who had a glaring need for a backup PG/SG with both Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford expected to leave as free agents.


Jordan Farmar - Injuries spoiled an otherwise productive season for Farmar, who missed 41 games in his return to the NBA last season. He wasn't even a standard-league option on a per-game basis, despite being in a favorable system with a 22-minute role, and he remains a dubious fantasy option even if his hamstrings hold up for the entire season. UPDATE: The Clippers have signed Farmar to a two-year, $4.2 million contract.


Patty Mills - Mills' play in the Finals raised his profile significantly, but he'd already put together the best season in his NBA career with averages of 10.2 points, 1.7 threes, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in a backup role behind Tony Parker. His score-first mentality makes him a questionable starting PG for any team (and a lack of assists hampers his fantasy appeal), but the Knicks reportedly have interest in acquiring him with their mini-mid-level exception. UPDATE:  In a disastrous twist to free agency, Mills has been ruled out for at least seven months due to rotator cuff surgery. He may not return to action until March but that didn't prevent the Spurs from quickly signing him to a three-year contract.


Aaron Brooks - The 29-year-old PG exploded with Ty Lawson injured down the stretch last season, propelling many fantasy owners to a championship and re-establishing his value as a free agent. His April averages of 14.4 points, 1.9 triples, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.4 steals came in 38 minutes per game, however, and he's unlikely to find more than a backup role regardless of where he lands. UPDATE: Brooks has agreed to sign with the Bulls.


Steve Blake - The 10-year veteran shot 37.7 percent from the field last season while racking up 27 DNPs, spoiling the appeal of his 1.4 triples and 5.6 assists per game. The Knicks are reportedly targeting him in free agency, and his name was mentioned briefly as part of a theoretical sign-and-trade with the Wolves for Kevin Love. UPDATE: Steve Blake agreed to a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Trail Blazers.


Devin Harris - Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson said that it's "important" to re-sign Harris, who said that he's looking for a three-year contract. His history of injuries adds significant risk for any team giving him a long-term deal, but the 31-year-old proved to be a valuable player at both ends of the court for Dallas last season, especially in the playoffs. His fantasy appeal is far dingier. UPDATE:  Harris and the Mavericks agreed to a three-year deal worth around $9 million.


Luke Ridnour - The Bobcats traded for Ridnour last February, where he served as Kemba Walker's backup for a few months, a familiar role throughout the course of his NBA career. The newly-minted Hornets don't have a backup PG at the moment, having traded away Shabazz Napier for draft picks, but he's sure to draw low-level offers from a variety of teams hoping to add backcourt depth -- it's worth mentioning that the Wizards and Kings both tried to trade for him at the deadline last season. UPDATE: Ridnour has agreed to a deal with the Magic.


Beno Udrih - Udrih emerged as a surprising source of fantasy value with the Kings from 2009-2011, but since that time he's fallen off the radar with backup roles in Milwaukee, Orlando and Memphis. Beat writer Ronald Tillery doesn't expect him to re-sign with the Grizzlies, though Nick Calathes' desire to leave for Europe could change the equation. Udrih has expressed dissatisfaction with small bench roles in the past, and may sign with whichever team promises him a substantial role (in addition to millions of dollars, naturally). UPDATE: Udrih agreed to re-sign with the Grizzlies.


Brian Roberts - The Pelicans declined to make Roberts a restricted FA with a $1.1 million qualifying offer. That speaks volumes about his perceived value, but he has enough 3-point range and play-making ability to earn a marginal contract as a backup. UPDATE: Roberts signed with the Hornets on a two-year deal worth $5.5 million.


E'Twaun Moore - To paraphrase my blurb from Sunday: The Magic rescinded their qualifying offer for Moore, who became expendable once they acquired PG Elfrid Payton on draft night. In his three-year career, Moore has shot 40.7 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from downtown, while posting a decent 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. He'll likely fight for a backup role no matter where he lands.


Toney Douglas - Douglas never earned a reliable spot in Miami's rotation last year, and his defense-first approach isn't conducive to fantasy value.


Garrett Temple - I wrote a blurb about Temple while writing this column and I don't feel like thinking of a slightly different way to say the same thing, so here it is: "The Wizards are "likely" to bring back Garrett Temple, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington. The two sides have mutual interest and coach Randy Wittman reportedly values the veteran guard's "locker room presence, work ethic ... and acceptance of his role." Despite the Wizards' interest, it's worth questioning whether Temple will accept a minimal role as a veteran mentor behind John Wall and Andre Miller, who is likely to assume backup duties after Washington picked up his $4.6 million option. UPDATE: Temple agreed to stay with the Wizards on a two-year deal worth around the veteran's minimum.


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Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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