Seventeen days have gone by since agent Mark Bartelstein said Lou Amundson would strike a deal within the week, and the veteran power forward remains unsigned. Amundson has one more week left before NBA training camps start, and it's beginning to look like he'll still be looking for work when the balls start bouncing.
The 30-year-old has never wowed with his ability in seven seasons after going undrafted out of UNLV. He's only once signed for more than the minimum salary, landing a two year, $4.6MM deal from the Warriors in 2010 after averaging career highs of 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for a Suns team that went to the Western Conference Finals. He's nonetheless maintained a consistent presence on NBA rosters, appearing in 327 games while making just seven starts in his career.
Amundson's shooting percentage has declined in each of the past four seasons, hitting an ugly 39.5% last year, when he split the season between the Timberwolves, Bulls and Pelicans. He has a better impact on the defensive end. During the three years in which Amundson saw his greatest amounts of minutes per contest, his Suns and Warriors teams were better defensively with him on the floor in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. That's somewhat misleading, since the opposite was true in 2011/12, the only other season he averaged at least 10 minutes a night. That year he was with the Pacers, a better defensive squad than the high-scoring outfits he'd been a part of in Phoenix and Golden State. It suggests Amundson is an average interior defender, which isn't necessarily unappealing if he's on the fringes of the rotation, as he has been the past couple of seasons.
The 6'9" Amundson has always been proficient on the boards, notching 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career. His 17.0% rebounding percentage would have put him fourth on the list of the top rebounders still available that Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors put together in early August if he'd averaged enough minutes last season to qualify. Such board work hasn't resulted in NBA jobs for Hamed Haddadi, Johan Petro or Lamar Odom, the three guys on the list who would have been ahead of Amundson, so it's certainly no harbinger of an NBA deal.
The Lakers and Clippers met with Amundson last month, the latest among a sizable group of teams reported to have had interest in him at some point this summer, one that includes the Knicks, Heat, Kings, Mavericks, Hawks, and Pacers. Many of those clubs also pursued Greg Oden, and it seemed then as though they considered Amundson as Plan B. Oden signed a fully guaranteed minimum-salary contract, an arrangement that was less player-friendly than the two-year deal with a player option that he initially agreed to. Perhaps Oden's concession drove down the price for Amundson, who might not be so willing to make a sacrifice of his own, though that's just my speculation.
Amundson signed a guaranteed minimum-salary pact with the Wolves last year, but I'd be surprised to see him do that this time around. He's probably looking at no better than a partial guarantee, if he gets a guarantee at all. Many jobs with overseas teams have been snapped up, but the international market is probably more favorable for Amundson now than it would be in another month or so if he found himself on the chopping block after opting to go to an NBA training camp on a non-guaranteed deal. His best bet is probably signing overseas, and while the idea of opening the season out of the NBA for the first time since 2007 might not appeal to him, it doesn't mean his career in the Association is over. If Amundson can ink a deal with an NBA out or in China, where the season ends early, he could find his way stateside again later in the season, perhaps on what would be the sixth 10-day contract of his career.