In the latest phase of this summer's free agency proceedings, serviceable veterans continue to be snapped up at affordable rates by playoff hopefuls. On Monday, it was a pair of former teammates in Elton Brand and Metta World Peace who found new homes for the 2013-14 season.
Drafted in the same year by the same team, Brand and World Peace quickly found themselves shipped away from those horrid Chicago Bulls teams just as they began peaking. Now aging veterans, Brand will sign on for one year and $4 million from the Atlanta Hawks, while World Peace gets a presumably cheaper two-year deal from the New York Knicks.
The moves thin an already weakening market for effective veteran players. Serviceable guys like Samuel Dalembert, Jason Maxiell, Al Harrington and Kenyon Martin remain available, but teams will be forced to take some gambles as the options dwindle.
Jennings done in Milwaukee?
The Milwaukee Bucks still need a starting point guard next season, but restricted free agent Brandon Jennings looks like an increasingly problematic option. Frustrated with the way he's been treated by the team this summer, the Sporting News reports Jennings prefers to leave Milwaukee before the beginning of the 2013-14 season if possible:
"If the bridge between the Bucks and point guard Brandon Jennings has not entirely burned, at least this can be said: It’s fiercely aflame. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Jennings does not want to go back to play for the Bucks next season."
While SB Nation's Tom Ziller notes Jennings could still head in a number of directions to "retake control of his career," including playing in China for a year or two, any of those scenarios would put him at risk of missing out on a lucrative long-term deal. He may need to accept that risk if he wants big money given the thinning market for teams spending on guards, though one possible option could be a sign-and-trade with the Detroit Pistons. Reports differ on whether or not the two teams have had trade discussions.
Jazz land John Lucas III
Free agent guard John Lucas III informed other suitors Monday that he's committing to the Utah Jazz, ESPN's Marc Stein reports. With the development, it's possible a deal could be completed before the end of the week, taking one of the few remaining adequate point guards off the market.
In need of a veteran who can help run the offense and add some scoring behind rookie Trey Burke, Lucas fits the bill. A third-string point guard for the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors over the past two seasons, he's proven to be an effective three-point shooter and capable game manager even though he took years to stick at the NBA level.
Wolves considered Kirilenko, Henderson, Prince
Before settling on signing Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger and Corey Brewer to shore up their wing rotation, the Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly considered different deals involving Andrei Kirilenko, Gerald Henderson and Tayshaun Prince. As Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports, the team first looked to retain Kirilenko:
A Wolves source said that the parameters of a 3-year, $21 million offer were discussed. I'm not sure we'll ever the get full story since neither side has any incentive to share. If Kirilenko's agent turned that offer down, he looks bad after accepting a 1-year, $3.1 million deal in Brooklyn. If the Wolves really made the offer, and couldn't complete the deal, that doesn't bode well.
The Wolves also had "heavy interest" in Henderson and "an opportunity to acquire [Prince] for minimal in return," but ultimately decided on Martin, Budinger and Brewer. With those three players on the roster, guys like Henderson and Prince become a lot less interesting even if they are still available.
Teams backing off Antawn Jamison
Free agent forward Antawn Jamison hasn't received much interest this offseason despite modest demands, possibly because of ongoing injury issues. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Jamison believes "teams have shied from signing him due to unnecessary concerns about his surgically repaired wrist." While the Clippers and Bobcats have shown interest in the 37-year-old, he's clearly disappointed by how little teams have reached out to him. When he's able to participate in 5-on-5 contact drills next month, he hopes to work out for teams if he's not under contract by then.