For some four-year veterans poised to hit the free agent market this summer, such as Brandon Jennings or Tyreke Evans, it will be their first opporunity to go through the process. That's not the case for four-year players across the board though. For Alan Anderson, who debuted back in 2005 with the Bobcats and is currently finishing up the fourth season of his NBA career, free agency is all too familiar.
"I've been playing on one-year [contracts] since Charlotte," Anderson told Hoops Rumors on Saturday. "One year, one year, one year. I've been a free agent every year."
Anderson's playing career has included stops in Italy, Russia, Israel, and Spain, but he received his first chance at consistent, full-season NBA minutes this season in Toronto, after the Raptors signed him to a one-year, minimum-salary deal last summer. The 30-year-old has taken advantage of the opportunity by having his best year yet, averaging 10.7 PPG and a 12.5 PER, both career-highs, in 63 contests with the Raps.
Coming off his most successful season to date, Anderson will be revisiting that familiar free agent process this July, but he should find he has a little more leverage than usual this time around. His production may not necessarily earn him a multiyear contract, or a salary worth a whole lot more than the minimum, but there should be no shortage of teams looking for scorers off the bench. Anderson has exhibited the ability to score baskets in bunches, as he did last month when he scored 35 against the Knicks, and can shoot the three (.352 career 3PT%), which should ensure he draws interest.
With the Raptors focusing on finishing the regular season on a winning streak, Anderson told Hoops Rumors than he hasn't started thinking too much about his pending free agency. However, when he does begin weighing his options, Anderson will be looking for a situation where playing time will be available.
"Whoever has a need for me," Anderson said. "I want to go somewhere and play. I don't want to sit on the bench."
The Raptors could be facing something of a salary-cap crunch this offseason, with about $73MM in commitments on their books for 2013/14. They have the amnesty clause available, and it's widely expected that they'll try to move Andrea Bargnani to cut costs, but the team could still end up in the tax. Of course, that shouldn't necessarily preclude the Raptors from bringing back Anderson -- the club will have to fill out its roster somehow. It may limit the team's ability to offer Anderson much of a raise, however.
Assuming the Raptors have the interest and the flexibility to bring Anderson back, returning to Toronto would be the veteran forward's preference, after spending the last season and a half with the franchise.
"They're the ones that gave me my second chance back in the NBA," Anderson said of the Raptors, who signed him to a 10-day contract in 2011/12 after he'd been out of the league since '06/07. "So yeah, I would definitely want to come back."
Whether or not Anderson will be wearing a Raptors uniform next season remains to be seen, but Anderson and agent Mark Bartelstein should be looking forward to this summer. After spending years looking for NBA teams to give him a chance, Anderson may very well receive interest from multiple suitors this July.
10:44am: If the Suns and Raptors reach an agreement, it's likely to come in the final hour before the deadline, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein, who says that Telfair would likely be swapped for Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick.
8:34am: NBA fans may not breathlessly be discussing the Sebastian Telfair sweepstakes, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter), the Raptors have emerged as the frontrunners to land Telfair.
We heard earlier this week that the Suns were looking to move Telfair in order to create playing time for rookie point guard Kendall Marshall. The club's efforts to trade Telfair likely intensified after Phoenix agreed to acquire Marcus Morris -- with 15 players already on the roster, the team will need to trade or release a player to clear room for the newest Sun.
The Suns' need to move or let go of a player should create leverage for the Raptors, who have been eyeing a number of backup point guards on the trade market. However, because Telfair makes more than the minimum salary, the Raps would have to send out a little salary of their own to make a deal work financially. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star suggested today that trading Alan Anderson in a deal for a backup point guard is a possibility for Toronto.
Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL injury was expected to leave an opening for the ninth-seeded 76ers to make a move in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers have held up their end of the bargain so far, winning three of their last four games, but the Celtics have been playing well without their All-Star point guard, winning four in a row. With Boston off tonight, the Sixers will look to gain a half-game in the standings by handing the Magic their 10th straight loss. Here are a few other updates out of the Atlantic:
Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal debunks the misconception that the Cavaliers will be forced to spend big in free agency this summer as a result of the NBA's minimum team salary floor requirement. Next season, teams will be required to spend at least 90 percent of the league's salary cap number next year. Although Cleveland's total amount of committed salaries could fall short of that number, Lloyd points out that the Cavs will be allowed to make up for the difference by dispersing the remaining required amount to its players. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
8:16pm: Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets that if the Raptors sign Pietrus, the team would let go of either Dominic McGuire or Alan Anderson. Wolstat also notes the Raptors nearly signed Pietrus last year, but were turned off by the results of a physical, since he was recovering from an injury at the time (Twitter link).
5:55pm: The Raptors are "strongly considering" free agent swingman Mickael Pietrus as they look to fill holes created by injury, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The team is in the market for a small forward, with Landry Fields and Alan Anderson out up to a month, according to Stein (Twitter link). Any deal would have to be for the minimum salary, since the team used its room exception to sign Aaron Gray over the summer.
Pietrus' agent, Bill McCandless, said in July that his client wouldn't sign for the minimum, and it seems he's stuck to that assertion. It's unclear whether there's mutual interest between Pietrus and the Raptors. The team was reportedly considering him earlier this month as well, but nothing came to fruition. Pietrus also reportedly turned down an offer this month from the Spurs, though there was confusion about whether any offer was made. The Lakers have recently expressed interest in him, too.
Toronto has a full roster, with 15 players all on fully guaranteed deals, as Stein points out, so someone would have to go, with the team still on the hook for his salary. The team's three smallest salary commitments are to wing players Dominic McGuire, Quincy Acy and Anderson, so letting one of them go wouldn't do much to address their depth. The team is only paying Anderson the two-year veteran's minimum of $854,389 on a one-year deal, so he'd seemingly be the most likely of that group to go, since he's on the shelf. John Lucas III has the next lowest salary, making $1.5MM this year with a team option for next season.
If the Raptors don't sign Pietrus, the alternative free agent small forwards aren't quiet as enticing, with Damion James and Terrence Williams probably the most appealing options. Check out our complete list of remaining free agents here.
JULY 27TH: Anderson has re-signed with the Raptors, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link), it's a minimum-salary deal. It's not clear whether it's fully or partially guaranteed.
JULY 17TH: After signing him to a pair of 10-day contracts and then a rest-of-season deal in 2011/12, the Raptors will bring back Alan Anderson in 2012/13, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. It's not clear whether Anderson's previous contract included a non-guaranteed season for the coming year, or if the Raps will re-sign him as a free agent. Either way, I would imagine Anderson will come to camp on a short-term, non-guaranteed contract.
Anderson, 29, saw his first NBA action since the 2006/07 season last year, and turned into one of the more successful 10-day contract signings of 2012. Anderson's efficiency numbers were negatively affected by a slump over the season's final four games, in which he shot just 18-of-59 (30.5%) from the floor. However, in 17 total games with the Raptors, the 6'6" wing started 12 contests, averaging 9.6 points in 27.1 minutes per game.
In an article by the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins, Stan Van Gundy explained that the injury to Hedo Turkoglu has caused major defensive issues for the Magic that the team should be able to overcome by the playoffs.
The Raptors have officially re-signed Ben Uzoh and Alan Anderson, according to a team press release. Both players saw their second 10-day contracts expire today, so their new deals will keep them with the team for the remainder of the season.
With a number of Raptors regulars missing time with injuries, both Uzoh and Anderson have entered the starting lineup, with Anderson starting the seven games and Uzoh starting the last two. Overall, Anderson, who I named one of the best 10-day signings of 2012, is averaging 8.4 points and 1.4 threes in 22.4 minutes per game. Uzoh has averages of 4.1 PPG, 2.8 APG, and 2.6 RPG in 11 contests with Toronto.
As our 10-day contract tracker shows, Justin Dentmon also had his deal with Toronto expire today, but the team chose not to bring him back. The series of moves leaves the Raptors with 14 players on their roster.
The Raptors have re-signed guards Ben Uzoh and Alan Anderson to 10-day contracts, according to releases from the team. It's the second 10-day contract from the team for both players. Toronto also signed Justin Dentmon to a 10-day deal this morning, so the team has three players on the shortest of contracts as it looks to bolster its backcourt.
Anderson has seen significant playing time in his six games for the Raptors, getting the start against the Sixers the other night and averaging 5.8 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 16 minutes a game. Uzoh has somewhat better numbers, though, putting up 3.2 PPG and 2.6 APG in 12 minutes a game.