Free Agent Frenzy: PGs and SGs

Ryan Knaus
July 1, 2014
Dose: Raptors even series 2-2
Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo all came through in Game 4, as the Raptors tied the Cavs at 2-2

The first edition of Free Agent Frenzy examines PGs and SGs entering unrestricted free agency on Tuesday. Don't read too much into the descending order of players, which moves roughly from most to least important. Where possible I've noted which teams are rumored to have interest in which players, while filling in contextual details and occasionally providing a season outlook.

Click here to read about this summer's free agent SFs and PFs.

Click here to read about this summer's free agent Cs and restricted free agents.

If I don't mention teams who are interested in a player, it's because I either don't know or won't give credence to specific rumors. This list is still changing as players and teams make last-minute decisions prior to July 1 -- I'll update it as appropriate, but it will never be 100 percent comprehensive.

One final thought...almost every single free agent, restricted or unrestricted, says that they'd like to return to the team they're leaving. Such boiler-plate comments burnish a player's image, even while raising the perceived bar for other teams hoping to acquire them, and there is no downside. Although I make note of (too many) players saying such things, I'd warn against taking them very seriously.

You can also follow me on Twitter @Knaus_RW

Unrestricted Point Guards

Kyle Lowry - Ric Bucher floated the notion that a sign-and-trade sending Lowry to the Heat was imminent, only to apologize on Twitter the next day and blame his "source" for the error. Those unprofessional shenanigans aside, Lowry is the best PG on the market and will draw interest from plenty of teams including the Raptors, who are expected to aggressively pursue him (the arrival of Lou Williams shouldn't dissuade them, as he's more of a SG anyway). Other contenders are likely to join in the pursuit, but they may not approach him until LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are off the table. UPDATE: Lowry agreed to re-sign with the Raptors on a four-year deal worth $48 million. It's a great fit for K-Low, who is coming off a career season and should be a steady second-round value as long as he stays healthy.

Darren Collison - Doc Rivers said that re-signing Collison is a top priority this summer. Collison boasts terrific shooting percentages from the field, 3-point land and the FT line, he has a rock-solid assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.23, and he's averaged 1.4 steals per 36 minutes in his career. He's also missed a skimpy average of 3.6 games per season in his five-year career, which is even more appealing given Chris Paul's occasional injury woes. L.A. will do what they can to keep him, though a lucrative offer and the promise of a starting job could be enough to lure Collison elsewhere. UPDATE: Collison agreed to a three-year, $16 million deal with the Kings. He anticipates starting at PG, which makes it likely that the Kings will seek a sign-and-trade deal involving restricted FA Isaiah Thomas.

Jameer Nelson - The Magic waived Jameer on Monday, paying him a guaranteed $2 million to unburden themselves of his $8 million salary. Nelson's future in Orlando is complicated by their acquisition of rookie PG Elfrid Payton, combined with the presence of Victor Oladipo, but Nelson has made it clear that he would love to finish his career with the Magic. Don't be surprised if he re-signs for a lower salary across multiple years, giving the Magic a well-established veteran to support their young guards both on and off the court.

Mo Williams - By declining his $2.8 million player option, Williams set himself up for a summer of unrestricted free agency. The 31-year-old will be looking for a three-year contract and has no intention of leaving Portland, saying that his goal is to "get something done with the Blazers." He flirted with fantasy value in standard leagues last season, but as long as Damian Lillard is healthy there's no reason to reach for him on draft day.

Mario Chalmers - Chalmers bottomed out in the Finals, ultimately losing his starting job, and he's unlikely to return with Miami now that they have Shabazz Napier (and Norris Cole, who is the only player under contract).

Ramon Sessions - The veteran PG thrived after being traded to the Bucks, averaging 15.8 points and 4.8 assists in an expanded role, and he said he'd welcome a return with Milwaukee. His phenomenal ability to get in the paint and draw fouls (6.7 FT attempts per 36 minutes) is typically offset by his lack of 3-point shooting, though he did average 0.8 triples per game as a Buck last year. UPDATE: The Bulls are among the teams to have expressed interest in Sessions.

Kirk Hinrich - Kirk said shortly after the season that he hopes to re-sign with the Bulls and "will always think of [himself] as a Bull no matter what happens." He has a good rapport with coach Tom Thibodeau, and Derrick Rose's injury history makes it critical to have at least one reliable backup PG ready to take over as a starter, so it would be somewhat surprising if he doesn't re-sign with Chicago.

D.J. Augustin - Augustin was similarly enthusiastic about his desire to return with the Bulls, where he experienced a mini-renaissance after being acquired mid-season. It's hard to envision him duplicating his numbers from 2013-14 in Chicago or anywhere else, and his defensive limitations would be blinding if it weren't for the Bulls' stellar team defense. Don't expect more than late-round value from the 26-year-old veteran. UPDATE: The Mavericks have expressed interest in Augustin.

Shaun Livingston - The Kings are reportedly interested in signing Livingston as their new starting point guard, which is a testament to his solid play and ability to stay healthy for the Nets in 2013-14. He averaged only 8.3 points per game and isn't a 3-point threat, but he was 48.3 percent from the field and 82.7 percent from the FT line, with 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and a mere 1.4 turnovers in 26 minutes per game. He's in his prime at 28 years old, but his lack of scoring and 3-point shooting severely hamper his fantasy outlook. UPDATE: Livingston has agreed to a three-year, $16 million deal with the Warriors, who had a glaring need for a backup PG/SG with both Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford expected to leave as free agents.

Jordan Farmar - Injuries spoiled an otherwise productive season for Farmar, who missed 41 games in his return to the NBA last season. He wasn't even a standard-league option on a per-game basis, despite being in a favorable system with a 22-minute role, and he remains a dubious fantasy option even if his hamstrings hold up for the entire season. UPDATE: The Clippers have expressed interest in Farmar, which makes sense since they just lost Darren Collison in free agency.

Patty Mills - Mills' play in the Finals raised his profile significantly, but he'd already put together the best season in his NBA career with averages of 10.2 points, 1.7 threes, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in a backup role behind Tony Parker. His score-first mentality makes him a questionable starting PG for any team (and a lack of assists hampers his fantasy appeal), but the Knicks reportedly have interest in acquiring him with their mini-mid-level exception. UPDATE:  In a disastrous twist to free agency, Mills has been ruled out for at least seven months due to rotator cuff surgery. He may not return to action until March but that didn't prevent the Spurs from quickly signing him to a three-year contract.

Aaron Brooks - The 29-year-old PG exploded with Ty Lawson injured down the stretch last season, propelling many fantasy owners to a championship and re-establishing his value as a free agent. His April averages of 14.4 points, 1.9 triples, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.4 steals came in 38 minutes per game, however, and he's unlikely to find more than a backup role regardless of where he lands.

Steve Blake - The 10-year veteran shot 37.7 percent from the field last season while racking up 27 DNPs, spoiling the appeal of his 1.4 triples and 5.6 assists per game. The Knicks are reportedly targeting him in free agency, and his name was mentioned briefly as part of a theoretical sign-and-trade with the Wolves for Kevin Love.

Devin Harris - Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson said that it's "important" to re-sign Harris, who said that he's looking for a three-year contract. His history of injuries adds significant risk for any team giving him a long-term deal, but the 31-year-old proved to be a valuable player at both ends of the court for Dallas last season, especially in the playoffs. His fantasy appeal is far dingier.

Luke Ridnour - The Bobcats traded for Ridnour last February, where he served as Kemba Walker's backup for a few months, a familiar role throughout the course of his NBA career. The newly-minted Hornets don't have a backup PG at the moment, having traded away Shabazz Napier for draft picks, but he's sure to draw low-level offers from a variety of teams hoping to add backcourt depth -- it's worth mentioning that the Wizards and Kings both tried to trade for him at the deadline last season.

Beno Udrih - Udrih emerged as a surprising source of fantasy value with the Kings from 2009-2011, but since that time he's fallen off the radar with backup roles in Milwaukee, Orlando and Memphis. Beat writer Ronald Tillery doesn't expect him to re-sign with the Grizzlies, though Nick Calathes' desire to leave for Europe could change the equation. Udrih has expressed dissatisfaction with small bench roles in the past, and may sign with whichever team promises him a substantial role (in addition to millions of dollars, naturally).

Brian Roberts - The Pelicans declined to make Roberts a restricted FA with a $1.1 million qualifying offer. That speaks volumes about his perceived value, but he has enough 3-point range and play-making ability to earn a marginal contract as a backup.

E'Twaun Moore - To paraphrase my blurb from Sunday: The Magic rescinded their qualifying offer for Moore, who became expendable once they acquired PG Elfrid Payton on draft night. In his three-year career, Moore has shot 40.7 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from downtown, while posting a decent 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. He'll likely fight for a backup role no matter where he lands.

Toney Douglas - Douglas never earned a reliable spot in Miami's rotation last year, and his defense-first approach isn't conducive to fantasy value.

Garrett Temple - I wrote a blurb about Temple while writing this column and I don't feel like thinking of a slightly different way to say the same thing, so here it is: "The Wizards are "likely" to bring back Garrett Temple, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington. The two sides have mutual interest and coach Randy Wittman reportedly values the veteran guard's "locker room presence, work ethic ... and acceptance of his role." Despite the Wizards' interest, it's worth questioning whether Temple will accept a minimal role as a veteran mentor behind John Wall and Andre Miller, who is likely to assume backup duties after Washington picked up his $4.6 million option.

Unrestricted Shooting Guards

Dwyane Wade - The Heat may have promised to re-sign Wade for close to the $20.2 million he was scheduled to earn in 2014-15 before he chose to terminate his contract. If not, the chronically-injured veteran just left millions of dollars on the table in a selfless attempt to help Miami rebuild their battered roster. It's hard to envision him playing anywhere but Miami next year. It's equally hard to see him playing more than 60 games -- he was effective in 54 appearances last season, but that entailed resting during off-days and back-to-back sets, to fantasy owners' despair. UPDATE: Wade has reportedly agreed to sign a four-year deal worth $12 million in 2014-15.

Lance Stephenson - The Pacers and Stephenson have mutual interest and team president Larry Bird left little doubt that Lance is a priority in free agency. "I got a certain amount I’m going to pay him and I’m not going over that," said Bird. "But it’s going to be a very good contract... it’s a very, very fair contract. I know Lance wants to be here, he needs to be paid like everybody else has been paid, and we’re going to do what we can do to keep him." His breakout, near All-Star season was marred by some silly antics on the court, including his Photoshop-friendly decision to blow in LeBron's ear during the postseason, but that shouldn't prevent him from earning a near-max multi-year contract.

Jodie Meeks - Once Kobe Bryant (knee) was ruled out for the season, Meeks' substantial role in the Lakers' rotation was secured. He wound up with numerous career highs, including 15.6 points, 2.1 triples and 1.4 steals per game, on his way to solid mid-round fantasy value, and with the league's emphasis on 3-point shooters he's sure to receive hefty offers as a free agent. To duplicate his numbers from 2013-14, however, would require a perfect situation. For what it's worth, Meeks said after the season, "When I signed here two years ago, I told my family that I would love to be here the rest of my career." UPDATE: Meeks hit the lottery on Tuesday, signing a three-year, $19 million deal with the Pistons. Detroit needed shooters, and coach Stan Van Gundy loves to spread the court with 3-point threats, but that's a wildly excessive salary which sets the bar very high for other free agents. 

Nick Young - Swaggy P turned down his $1.2 million player option to test the free agent market, though he said he'll be willing to give the Lakers a discount to re-sign him. He added that there would "be a riot" if L.A. doesn't bring him back, though with Kobe Bryant returning and plenty of bigger-name options available in free agency it's hard to imagine Young being high on the Lakers' to-do list.

Evan Turner - The Pacers made the obvious choice to let Turner enter free agency rather than giving him an $8.7 million qualifying offer. His ability to score with solid rebounds and assists make him a tempting fantasy target, but his value is undermined by limited 3-pointers and steals, high turnovers, and poor FG percentages.

Vince Carter - At age 37, Carter mounted a legitimate campaign for Sixth Man of the Year with the Mavs. He missed only one game and averaged 11.9 points, 1.8 threes, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.8 steals, yielding top-100 fantasy value on a cumulative basis (and he was even better in nine-cat). It's doubtful that he can keep up that pace at an age when many other players are retiring, and he's best viewed as a late-round 3-point specialist no matter where he's playing. The Raptors have expressed interest in a reunion with Vinsanity, as have the Thunder, Blazers and Heat.

Rodney Stuckey - Stan Van Gundy loves 3-point shooting, which is a weakness of Stuckey's (28.6 percent from deep for his career), and it's unlikely that he'll re-sign with the Pistons. The Magic have already expressed interest in him, though it's worth noting that beat writer Vincent Goodwill reported Stuckey is seeking a salary in excess of the $5.3 million mid-level exception. Just remember, Stuckey has only cracked top-100 fantasy value once in his seven-year career (2010-11).

Thabo Sefolosha - Sefolosha dropped out of OKC's starting lineup in the playoffs, as Scott Brooks finally had enough of Thabo's utter lack of offense. Beat writer Darnell Mayberry wrote that he's "unlikely" to return with the Thunder as a free agent, freeing him to seek a 20-25 minute role elsewhere. He's produced low-end fantasy value in the past, with a trickle of steals and 3-pointers combined with solid FG percentages and low turnovers, but he'd need to land another starting gig to consider him on draft day. UPDATE: Sefolosha has agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Hawks.

Ray Allen - As of June 24, Allen was "leaning toward" returning for his 19th NBA season. If he does return he'll likely sign with whichever team gets LeBron James, where he'll fill the same perimeter-specialist role that's befitting the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made (2,973).

C.J. Miles - An ankle injury shut Miles down in February, though it was apparently just a bad sprain which didn't require surgery. He shot a career-best 39.9 percent from downtown in 51 games with Cleveland last year, averaging 9.9 points with little else to his credit, and it's a role he should reprise in 2014-15 (though perhaps not for the Cavs). UPDATE: The Pacers may use part of their mid-level exception to pursue Miles.

Anthony Morrow - Morrow turned down a $1.2 million player option in favor of unrestricted free agency. His stellar 3-point shooting should earn him at least that much on a multi-year contract, but perimeter shooting is the extent of his appeal for fantasy purposes. UPDATE: Morrow was expected to meet with the Pistons but their decision to sign Jodie Meeks has scuttled those plans. He's also drawn interest from the Thunder and Heat.

Jerryd Bayless - Bayless had a decent stint with the depleted Celtics last season, but he's a sub-par defender whose ability (or willingness) to attack the paint has tapered off throughout his six-year NBA career. The undersized SG should earn a deal close to the veteran's minimum, though the arrival of Marcus Smart in Boston makes it unlikely that he'll re-sign with the Celtics.

Xavier Henry - Henry had wrist and knee surgery in April but he hopes to be fully recovered in early August. His per-36-minute stats show some intriguing versatility, but fantasy owners should ignore him given his 40.8 percent shooting and apparent inability to stay healthy. He wants to re-sign with the Lakers.

Jimmer Fredette - The only team explicitly linked to Jimmer is Panathinaikos in Greece, which says plenty about his inability to find traction in the NBA. His defense is simply too poor for him to play more than a spot-minute role off the bench.

Ben Gordon - Gordon's five-year, $58 million has mercifully expired, leaving him free to seek his fortunes as a 3-point gunner for whichever team wants him. He posted a negative 'Win Share' rating the past two seasons with Charlotte, and had an effective FG percentage of 38.0 percent last year, so fantasy owners shouldn't anticipate a late-career renaissance.

Shannon Brown - Brown was engaged in talks to play in China last season, but stayed in the NBA after earning 10-day contracts with the Knicks and Spurs. He was a combined 0-of-2 from beyond the arc in 21 games last season and may not even earn a guaranteed contract in the NBA.

Brandon Rush - Rush was a lottery pick in the 2008 draft, and he put together an intriguing campaign with the Warriors as recently as 2011-12 when he averaged 9.8 points, 1.5 threes, 3.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks while shooting 50.1 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from downtown. He tore his ACL in November of 2012 and has yet to regain his prior form, but as a stellar 3-point shooter he's sure to garner interest from multiple teams in free agency.

Other free agent guards not discussed include Alan Anderson, Earl Watson, Daniel Gibson, Othyus Jeffers, Jamaal Tinsley, Willie Green (UPDATE: Green has been claimed by the Magic), Rip Hamilton, Andrew Goudelock, Dahntay Jones, Toure Murry and Jared Cunningham.

I'll follow up very soon with unrestricted SFs, PFs and Cs, as well as restricted free agents and a few other players who opted into their contracts. In the meantime, keep circling back to Rotoworld's player news page for the latest free agency information.