The moratorium ended at midnight, and on Wednesday, deals with NBA free agents will begin getting signed while trades are consummated and depth charts adjusted. We've had closure on most of the best free agents of the 2013 class, but there's a surprising number of useful players left on the board. This piece looks at those free agents, using my recent Top 19 free agents ranking as a base.
1. Andrew Bynum
Bynum basically skipped the first week of free agency, for whatever reason, but has since met with the Cavaliers and will visit the Mavericks and Hawks. Cleveland reportedly offered a two-year deal. Can Bynum hold out for four? Extending a long-term deal to a player with knees like that has to be terrifying. We're in amnesty no man's land (the next opportunity for post-2011 contracts won't likely be until 2017) and the stretch provision isn't totally helpful. Will a team offer a four-year deal with a lot of unguaranteed salary to protect their cap? It feels like Bynum has time to hold out -- there's still some cap room out there.
2. Nikola Pekovic (restricted)
Pekovic is terrifying for other reasons, and he's a really good NBA center. It's mystifying that one of the teams with cap space hasn't indicated they'll force the issue with the Timberwolves, who can match any signed offer sheet. If Dallas misses or demurs on Bynum, a massive offer to Pek should be an immediate next step. At the very least, you make Minnesota think twice and extend tons of salary toward a second frontcourt player. Or, Glen Taylor could get cold feet after a busy offseason and let Pek go. Centers this good without screaming red flags (like Bynum's knees) aren't available every day.
3. Andrei Kirilenko
Memo to other teams: the Spurs tried to land Andrei Kirilenko in a sign-and-trade. You may want to make an effort to pick him up. He was a borderline All-Star pick last season in the West before injuries set in. And, sure, that's a concern. He's 31. He's played a ton of international minutes in addition to NBA minutes. But he has a huge impact on the floor, particularly on defense, and is one of the league's more versatile players. Chances are, you can sneak in a two-year deal.
4. Jeff Teague (restricted)
Milwaukee apparently wants Teague and opened up some space on Tuesday by trading Luc Richard Mbah a Moute for second-round picks. I wonder at what point his agent decides that this free agency period isn't really working out as planned due to Atlanta's dithering, takes the qualifying offer, bets on improvement in Year 5 and heads into 2014 with unrestricted status. (If Pekovic's camp is unhappy with the Wolves' pace, that might be an option there, as well.)
5. Brandon Jennings (restricted)
The incredible mystery of Milwaukee's offseason affects Jennings, too. The sign-and-trade with Atlanta doesn't appear to be going anywhere, and teams in need of point guards have, for the most part, found them. The cap space of 2014 must be looking better and better for these kids ...
6. Monta Ellis
This may be the culprit in holding everything up for the above two guards, as Atlanta is among the teams interested. So are Dallas and Sacramento. No, I don't really understand either.
7. Gerald Henderson (restricted)
A deal on a non-Bobcats team with a quick opt-out might provide Henderson a chance for a lucrative long-term deal. Of course, staying with the Bobcats might do the same. You never know with Charlotte.
8. Nate Robinson
I'm convinced Nate has become a permanent one-year contract player, the poor guy.
9. Brandan Wright
Wright had about even odds of being wildly overpaid or being a total bargain. It looks like he'll be a bargain at this point. He'd be a good addition in Portland.
10. Ivan Johnson (restricted)
Any day now the Hawks are going to rescind their qualifying offer to Ivan and Danny Ferry is going to have to go into hiding.
11. Samuel Dalembert
A really good rebounder and shotblocker. Just get a restraining order on him participating on offense. "You must stay 20 feet away from the ball in the frontcourt until a rebound is available."
12. Beno Udrih
The PUJIT Master is a horrid defender, but we've seen horrid defenders get fat contracts already. (Hello, Kevin Martin and Al Jefferson!) Udrih can run a team, get buckets and recommend excellent Mediterranean food.
13. Corey Brewer
That's NBA Champion Corey Brewer to you, bub.
14. Gary Neal (restricted)
Memphis has been mentioned as a good fit, but I think the Bulls, Rockets and (my favorite option) Thunder would be fine destinations. OKC has its mid-level exception still. Center (Dalembert?) is a bigger need, but getting Neal relieves a lot of pressure on Jeremy Lamb.
15. DeJuan Blair
New Reggie Evans. Come on, teams. Keep DeJuan in the league.
16. Mo Williams
Surely he'll be a starter somewhere in the league next season ... Right? ... Hello?