Are There Any Viable Free Agents Left in the NBA?
My initial reaction was, "Wait, someone still wants Ben Gordon?" Once that shock wore off, I decided to check in to see which other free agents are still sitting around and looking for a home for the 2015-16 season. A lot of guys have bolted for Europe, but there remain a few players that had relatively productive seasons last year and are still waiting for a call.
Former All-Star, Carlos Boozer (yup, that happened), is still without a team after playing 71 games and 1,692 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers last year. In 23.8 minutes per game, Boozer averaged a modest 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.2 blocks per contest, while shooting 49.9% from the field and 62.7% from the charity stripe.
Now at 33 years of age, it goes without saying that Booze is not quite the 20-point, 10-rebound machine he once was. Still, one has to imagine that he could be an effective fourth or fifth big off the bench for a team in need of a scoring or rebounding boost.
Of course, it's important to remember that his defense is horrendous, and that's the main reason the Chicago Bulls used their amnesty provision on him last summer. To wit, his -2.36 Defensive Real Plus-Minus was 88th among 94 qualifying power forwards alone last season. Gross.
A few teams have kicked the tires on Boozer and he's also garnering interest from China, but word is that he's holding out for an NBA team. Time is running out to get a training camp invite, but perhaps he'll sign on with a team mid-season as an injury replacement or something.
Luc Mbah a Moute
Luc Mbah a Moute started in 61 of the 67 games he played for the Philadelphia 76ers last year, averaging 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.3 blocks in a healthy 28.6 minutes per game, while shooting 39.5% from the field and 58.9% from the line.
Mbah a Moute is certainly not what you'd call an offensive threat, but he's a plus defender on the wing (1.4 Defensive Box Plus-Minus for his career) and can provide solid NBA minutes at either forward spot in a pinch.
He had a one-year deal in place with the Sacramento Kings for an estimated $1.5 million, but had it voided after a failed physical. The NBPA is filing a grievance over the matter and Mbah a Moute looked just fine in the NBA Africa game played in August, so there's still an outside chance that the still-undisclosed ailment is not serious or career-threatening.
Rumors about his health and what caused the Kings to run away in the first place will continue to circle around him until this situation comes to light, but a 29-year-old combo forward with 11,327 career minutes under his belt could help a good number of teams looking for depth at the three or four.
Rasual Butler played a fairly sizable role for the Washington Wizards last season, racking up 1,505 minutes in 75 games played. He had a scorching hot start to the year, but settled into averages of 7.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 20.1 minutes per contest over the season as a whole.
His biggest impact came from long range, where he hit 1.2 triples per game at a 38.7% clip. The Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and New Orleans Pelicans have all taken a look at Butler this summer, likely in the interest of adding another shooter to their respective depth charts.
Of course, Butler is now 36 years old, and could very well be on the verge of riding off into the NBA sunset after a respectable career as a role player. Still, any team looking for some cheap floor-spacing, he's still sitting out there unrestricted and unclaimed.