Ryan Knaus

The Numbers Game

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Free Agent Frenzy: Cs and RFAs

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


The third and final installment of Free Agent Frenzy examines centers entering unrestricted free agency on Tuesday, as well as restricted free agents and other players with contract options. Click here for Part 1 which dealt with PGs and SGs, and click here for Part 2 which dealt with SFs and PFs. 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.

 

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 were with last season. 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 follow me on Twitter @Knaus_RW

 

Unrestricted Centers

 

Pau Gasol - Pau has a long list of suitors. He's already scheduled to meet with the Bulls, Warriors and Thunder, he's expressed an interest in the Lakers, Grizzlies and Spurs, and the Suns and Hawks have recently been added to the list. He suffered through a down season in 2013-14, missing 22 games and struggling to find his comfort zone under Mike D'Antoni, which may leave him undervalued in fantasy drafts this fall. UPDATE:  The Thunder were initially reported as a "frontrunner" to sign him, but Gasol ultimately signed a three-year, $22 million deal with the Bulls.

 

Marcin Gortat - The Wizards will lobby to re-sign Gortat the moment free agency begins and the Polish center has said that he'd "love" to stay in Washington, citing John Wall as a major reason for his success in 2013-14. Fellow big man Nene has also supported Gortat's return to D.C., and the Wizards' full-court press may be causing other teams to think twice about prioritizing Gortat in free agency -- the Mavs were mentioned as a candidate before they acquired Tyson Chandler, and the Heat have been suggested on the off chance that they can clear enough cap space. UPDATE: Gortat has agreed to a fully-guaranteed deal with the Wizards, worth $60 million over five years. That's a market-value deal for Washington, and the fact that they locked him up so quickly speaks volumes about Gortat's comfort playing alongside John Wall and Nene under coach Randy Wittman. For their next feat, the Wizards will attempt to re-sign Trevor Ariza despite a plethora of teams who are also pursuing the veteran SF.

 

Spencer Hawes - With a steady 30-minute role and only two DNPs last season, Hawes reminded fantasy owners why he's such a unique fantasy force. He piled up third-round value by averaging 13.2 points, 1.6 threes, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, and his 78.3 percent FT shooting was well above average for a center. The Cavaliers have vowed to make re-signing Hawes their "main priority," but the Warriors and Clippers may have interest and that list will quickly balloon once free agency officially begins. UPDATE: Hawes signed a four-year, $23 million deal with the Clippers.

 

Andray Blatche - Blatche turned down a minimum-salary player option to enter free agency this summer, and he's already been linked to the center-starved Pelicans. (UPDATE: I wrote Blatche's free agent situation prior to New Orleans acquiring Omer Asik, so presumably they're interest in Blatche has been drastically reduced.) For his career, Blatche has per-36-minute averages of 16.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks, with solid-enough percentages for a big man. If he can find a team willing to play him around 30 minutes per game, he'll be in solid shape as a late-round center.

 

Chris Kaman - After a frustrating season under coach Mike D'Antoni, which included an infamous mid-game nap on the Lakers' bench, Kaman will undoubtedly seek out the biggest role he can as a free agent. In the right situation he can be a solid source of points, FG percentage, rebounds and blocks, but fantasy owners should hedge their bets on draft day since he hasn't cracked mid-round value since 2009-10 with the Clippers. UPDATE: Kaman signed a two-year, $10 million contract to join the Trail Blazers.

 

Chris Andersen - The Birdman opted for unrestricted free agency, and despite being 36 years old (on July 7) he'll likely earn a 15-minute role on a contender's bench. It remains to be seen if that's with the Heat or another team. By the way...if you remember hearing about a criminal investigation into Andersen while he was with the Nuggets, but haven't learned what came of it, this article exonerates Andersen as the victim of an elaborate internet scam. UPDATE: Andersen has agreed to re-sign with the Heat on a multi-year contract.

 

Elton Brand - The 34-year-old intends to continue his career, and he's likely to land a short-term deal for close to the veteran minimum. UDPATE: The Hawks and Knicks have both expressed interest in E.B.

 

Jermaine O'Neal - J.O. is contemplating retirement. Even if he does return, his chronic leg injuries and limited playing time mean that he's no longer a viable fantasy option.

 

Greg Stiemsma - Stiemsma was atrocious when the Pelicans experimented with him in the starting lineup, and he struggled to beat out guys like Alexis Ajinca and Melvin Ely for playing time. In his three-year NBA career he's swatted 2.8 shots per 36 minutes, but that information is only useful in the deepest of leagues.

 

Emeka Okafor - A herniated disc ruined Okafor's 2013-14 season, and there haven't been any updates on his status in months.

 

Greg Oden - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised Oden's work ethic, and the former No. 1 pick plans to play again in 2014-15. His season will be a success if he stays healthy and appears in more than a handful of games.

 

Cole Aldrich - Aldrich thrived in a few meaningless late-season games for the Knicks, including a huge line of 13 points, 16 rebounds, two steals and five blocks in April. That shouldn't sway fantasy owners to consider him on draft day, however, as he'll be filling a minor bench role for whichever team acquires him. For what it's worth, the NY Post's Marc Berman doesn't expect the Knicks to re-sign Aldrich. UPDATE: Aldrich has re-signed with the Knicks.

 

Nazr Mohammed - The Chicago-born veteran will be 37 years old when the season begins, and the biggest question here is whether he'll retire this summer.

 

A few more UFA centers not mentioned… Ekpe Udoh, Gustavo Ayon, Ryan Hollins, Aaron Gray (UPDATE: Gray signed a multi-year deal with the Pistons), Marcus Camby, Andris Biedrins and Andrew Bynum.

 


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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.
Email :Ryan Knaus



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