NBA free agency is sort of like Christmas for kids. They get up, tear open presents at a clip that suggests they barely know what they’re getting, and then within a fairly short period of time, it’s over and you have the rest of the day where they sit around wondering where all the excitement went.
It’s an upper that works quickly and briefly.
So when Free Agency officially opened around a week ago and the dollar bills went flying, it happened fast and furiously and without common sense sometimes. Now, only six days later, it seems like NBA news not related to Tim Duncan is moving at sloth’s pace, and if you didn’t cash in early, you’re twisting in the wind.
There are still very good players out there, and guys that if they’re wise, will take a one-year deal somewhere they can maximize their minutes and wait on next season’s massive payday. A few of the good ones and where they should go. One point to note on this list is that these guys are players you can actually sign. Lebron James already has said where he’s going.
5. Raymond Felton, Dallas Mavericks
Felton had his best year since 2011, and played in more games (80) than any season since 2010. It was the first time in four years he’d eclipsed 700 points in a season, and was generally effective even when thrust into a starting role with Dallas, who made the playoffs. He has some risk about him, but he’s not going back to Dallas seeing as there’s really no room on the depth chart anymore for him.
Best Spot: Charlotte. He succeeded there at the beginning of his career and there should be minutes available at the backup point guard slot.
4. Gerald Green, Miami Heat
He’s the girl that’s a great date, so long as you don’t take her to the bar where then it gets kind of crazy. He’s working on his ninth! team probably, not counting his time in Russia. He was effective in New Jersey which got him a nice deal with the Pacers … where he was a non-factor, which got him sent to Phoenix where he was outstanding, which got him to Miami … where he was a non factor.
Best Spot: Phoenix. If it isn’t broke, don’t go trying to fix it. Yes, scheme and style has changed, but the Suns aren’t loaded at SF and he could get some run.
3. Miles Plumlee, Milwaukee Bucks
He’s probably more useful than he gets credit for. There’s not much downside to him, he shouldn’t cost too much, and he does the grubby stuff that fits in on any team. There’s nothing eye popping about the stats, but grubbiness doesn’t have a stat, just a lot of love.
Best Spot: San Antonio Spurs. You could say that about a lot of players, but he’d be an effective spell for their aging bigs with Duncan gone, and the Spurs do a great job getting the most out of guys who like the slop.
2. Brandon Bass, Los Angeles Lakers
There’s not much mystery to Bass, and that’s nice. He’s a vet somewhere on the back nine who won’t do anything amazing, but he’ll go to work, come home on time, get the yard work done, and get up the next day to do it all over again until he retires. He’ll rarely, if ever, take bad shots or do anything dumb.
Best Spot: Boston Celtics. Boston is where he flourished and they made the incorrect decision to let him go and roll with Jared Sullinger, who’s now gone. Time to reconcile.
1. Lance Stephenson, Memphis Grizzlies
The enigmatic, super-talented, quixotic at times Born Ready is still young, can play good defense, is a physical mismatch considering his skill set, and can have a bright future. Leaving Indiana was a bad move by him, as he’s bounced around losing minutes in spite of not getting in much trouble. High risk, high reward, but you’ve got to actually … you know … play him. Quietly, he was pretty good in Memphis.
Best Spot: Indiana Pacers. Clearly, that organization has been able to get the best out of him, and his leaving didn’t benefit either side. Time to kiss and make up. The Pacers could use the physicality and emotion. Lance could use the revival.