Free Agent Stock Watch: Kyle Korver

March 7 2013 at 4:52pm CST By Luke Adams

When the Hawks acquired Kyle Korver from the Bulls last July, the trade essentially amounted to a cash dump for Chicago. All the Bulls received in exchange for Korver was cash and a trade exception that remains unused. From Korver's perspective though, the deal presented him with the chance to play more minutes than he has in years, and he's taken full advantage of that opportunity.

For the first time since 2005/06, Korver is a fixture in his team's starting lineup, rather than coming off the bench. In 54 games (45 starts) for the Hawks this year, the veteran sharpshooter is also averaging the second-most minutes of his career (31.5). While the increased playing time is part of the reason Korver has seen his numbers increase (his 11.4 PPG is his best average since 2006/07), he has also been exceptionally productive by his standards. His .458 FG% and league-leading .461 3PT% are well above his career rates, and his 14.5 PER is a career-high.

The resurgence is coming at the right time for Korver, who will hit unrestricted free agency this summer. The 31-year-old is in the final year of a three-year, $15MM contract, and given how well he has played this season, it's not hard to envision him receiving offers of at least that many years and dollars again. Korver may not land as large a deal as fellow marksman J.J. Redick, who is three years younger, but three-point shooters as deadly as Korver always draw interest, particularly from contending teams.

If mid-level money (slightly more than $5MM annually) is enough to land Korver, his list of suitors figures to be extensive. The Nuggets are one team expected to target Korver with their MLE, and I could easily see the Grizzlies and other capped-out contenders getting in the mix as well. A mid-level offer may not be the best Korver can do from a financial perspective, but if he prioritizes a chance at a title run, we could see him accept a two- or three-year offer for MLE money.

Plenty of teams, contenders and non-contenders alike, are expected to have a good chunk of cap space this summer as well, and with only a handful of big-name free agents on the market, Korver should draw interest as a complementary piece for many of those clubs. For the Jazz, Mavericks, Pistons, and others, Korver may not be the Plan A, but if they miss out on one of their top targets, Korver certainly wouldn't be a bad alternative. Depending on how much cap room those teams have to spare, Korver could even earn an offer that pays him a little more than mid-level money, though I imagine the difference wouldn't be too significant.

The Hawks also remain a viable option for Korver. Not only has the team allowed Korver to shine in an expanded role, but Atlanta only has three players on guaranteed contracts for next season. GM Danny Ferry could go in a number of directions when it comes to using the Hawks' huge amount of cap space, and re-signing Korver may not be the first move he pursues when July arrives, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the two sides work out a deal to keep the veteran in Atlanta.

Korver has exhibited a knack for delivering his best seasons when they matter most. Prior to becoming a free agent in 2010, he shot an incredible 53.6% from three-point range for the Jazz, earning himself a big payday that summer despite playing in just 18.3 minutes per game for Utah in '09/10. His contract-year performance this time around is a little more impressive, and will likely land him another nice multiyear contract this July from a team in need of long-range shooting.

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