With free agents like Jonny Flynn, Louis Amundson, and Anthony Tolliver coming off the board this week, there aren't many recognizable names left on our list of available players. Of the unrestricted free agents still on the market, a handful stand out: Leandro Barbosa, Kenyon Martin, Mehmet Okur, Mickael Pietrus, and Tracy McGrady.
There's no question that any of these players could help an NBA team. None of them are stars or maybe even starters anymore, but they're solid role players that won't hurt you off the bench. So why are they still on the market? I don't have any inside info about their contract negotiations, but I'd guess it's because their asking prices remain too high. Here's what we've heard this offseason about the contracts these guys are after:
- Leandro Barbosa: Barbosa was looking for a multiyear contract earlier this summer, and his interest
in the Cavs, who have a ton of cap space, suggested he didn't want to
take a huge pay cut. It looks like he won't have much choice in the
matter, but I'm not sure he's willing to settle for the minimum yet, or
he'd already be signed.
- Kenyon Martin: We've heard multiple times this offseason that Martin is seeking more than the veteran's minimum. Most recently, Timberwolves assistant coach Bill Bayno said Martin's asking price is the reason his team isn't pursuing the former first overall pick.
- Mehmet Okur: The Timberwolves were linked frequently to Okur this offseason, but the team's inability to offer more than the minimum was a roadblock. It seems Okur's best shot at a bigger payday may come from a Turkish team.
- Mickael Pietrus: Agent Bill McCandless stated pretty unequivocally back in July that his client wouldn't be signing for the veteran's minimum. With Pietrus still unsigned, you have to wonder if recent reports of the former Celtic drawing heavy interest and possibly closing in on a deal were floated by McCandless to try to drum up last-minute interest from teams with some spending room.
- Tracy McGrady: There haven't been any reports this offseason explicitly suggesting that McGrady isn't interested in the veteran's minimum, but after a solid 2011/12 season in Atlanta, I would think there'd be plenty of teams interested in signing him at that price. The Knicks, for instance, are reportedly willing to take a flier on Rasheed Wallace, but are no longer interested in McGrady. It could just be a matter of Wallace being a better fit, but it wouldn't be surprising if T-Mac's asking price was still too high.
There are a number of other players on our list of free agents who could still be after more than the minimum -- Derek Fisher, Michael Redd, and Josh Howard, to name a few. But it appears the five listed above are the best bets to force a team to dip into its cap space, mid-level exception, or bi-annual exception.
Still, we're at a point in the offseason where very few, if any, players are receiving more than minimum-salary offers. So if these free agents don't receive any NBA offers they like, perhaps they'll seriously consider signing overseas, an option that could appeal in particular to players like Barbosa, Okur, and Pietrus, who have international roots.